Speech Therapy

Speech-language pathologists are professionals who hold the ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP), which requires a master’s, doctoral, or other recognized post baccalaureate degree. ASHA-certified SLPs complete a supervised postgraduate professional experience and pass a national examination. Demonstration of continued professional development is mandated for the maintenance of the CCC-SLP. SLPs hold other required credentials where applicable (e.g., state licensure, teaching certification, specialty certification). SLPs are the primary care providers of speech-language pathology services. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) work to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders in children and adults.

Areas that may be addressed in speech therapy include, but are not limited to:

  • Fluency: Stuttering, Cluttering
  • Speech Production: Motor planning and execution (apraxia), Articulation, Phonological
  • Language: Spoken and written language, Listening, Processing, Speaking, Phonology, Morphology, Grammar, Vocabulary, Pragmatics (language use and social aspects of communication), Prelinguistic communication (joint attention, intentionality, communicative signaling), Paralinguistic communication (gestures, signs, body language), Literacy (reading, writing, spelling)
  • Cognition: Attention, Memory, Problem solving, Executive functioning
  • Voice: Phonation quality, Pitch, Loudness, Alaryngeal voice
  • Resonance: Hypernasality, Hyponasality, Cul-de-sac resonance, Forward focus
  • Feeding and Swallowing: Oral phase, Pharyngeal phase, Esophageal phase, Atypical eating (food selectivity/refusal, negative physiologic response)
  • Auditory Habilitation/Rehabilitation: Speech, language, communication, and listening skills impacted by hearing loss, deafness, Auditory processing

Preschool children (3 to 5 years old) with language disorders may have trouble understanding and talking. They may have trouble:

  • Understanding what gestures mean
  • Following directions
  • Answering questions
  • Identifying objects and pictures
  • Taking turns when talking with others
  • Asking questions
  • Naming objects
  • Using gestures
  • Putting words together into sentences
  • Learning songs and rhymes
  • Using correct pronouns, like “he” or “they”
  • Knowing how to start a conversation and keep it going

Some children also have trouble with early reading and writing, such as:

  • Holding a book right side up
  • Looking at pictures in a book and turning pages
  • Telling a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end
  • Naming letters and numbers
  • Learning the alphabet

Speech and language disorders that may affect school-age children:

  • Speech disorders occur when a person has difficulty producing speech sounds correctly or fluently (e.g., stuttering is a form of disfluency) or has problems with his or her voice or resonance.
  • Language disorders occur when a person has trouble understanding others (receptive language), or sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings (expressive language). Language disorders may be spoken or written and may involve the form (phonology, morphology, syntax), content (semantics), and/or use (pragmatics) of language in functional and socially appropriate ways.
  • Social communication disorders occur when a person has trouble with the social use of verbal and nonverbal communication. These disorders may include problems (a) communicating for social purposes (e.g., greeting, commenting, asking questions), (b) talking in different ways to suit the listener and setting, and (c) following rules for conversation and story-telling. All individuals with autism spectrum disorder have social communication problems. Social communication disorders are also found individuals with other conditions, such as traumatic brain injury.
  • Cognitive-communication disorders include problems organizing thoughts, paying attention, remembering, planning, and/or problem-solving. These             di11254656_724816457662151_2884968536505918377_nsorders usually happen as a result of a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or dementia, although they can be congenital.
  • Swallowing disorders (dysphagia) are feeding and swallowing difficulties, which may follow an illness, surgery, stroke, or injury.

Additionally, SLPs:

  • Provide aural rehabilitation for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Provide augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems for individuals with severe expressive and/or language comprehension disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder or progressive neurological disorders.
  • Work with people who don’t have speech, language, or swallowing disorders, but want to learn how to communicate more effectively (e.g., work on accent modification or other forms of communication enhancement).