Speech-language pathologists (sometimes called speech therapists) assess, diagnose, treat, and help to prevent communication and swallowing disorders in patients. Communication involves listening, speaking, reading and writing. Some people use sign language, communication aids or other methods to communicate.

Communication problems may result from:

  • Developmental Delay
  • Stammering
  • Autism
  • Inappropriate use of speech sounds
  • Learning difficulties
  • Brain injury
  • Hearing loss
  • Disorders of the voice
  • Cleft palate
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Emotional Problems

Some skill areas targeted during therapy include:

  • Listening and attention skills
  • Phonological awareness skills
  • Play skills
  • Social skills
  • Understanding of language
  • Expressive language
  • Use of alternative communication (e.g. signs)

When treating patients, speech-language pathologists typically do the following:

  • Teach patients how to make sounds and improve their voices
  • Teach alternative communication methods, such as sign language, to patients with little or no speech capability
  • Work with patients to improve their ability to read and write correctly
  • Work with patients to develop and strengthen the muscles used to swallow
  • Counsel patients and families on how to cope with communication disorders