What is Speech Therapy

Speech-Language Pathology is a profession that provides support, mainly on an individual basis, but also for individuals, families, support groups, and through the provision of information for the general public. A professional in this field is known as Speech-language pathologist (SLP) or more commonly referred to as a Speech Therapist. SLPs work to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders in children and adults. Speech services begin with initial screening for communication and swallowing disorders. These professionals then evaluate, intervene and treat deficits in these areas. SLPs also consult with physicians and related professionals for the provision of counseling and other follow up services for disorders. Speech, language, and swallowing disorders result from a variety of causes, such as a stroke, brain injury, hearing loss, developmental delay, a cleft palate, cerebral palsy, or emotional issues.

SLPs provide service in the following areas:

  • cognitive aspects of communication (e.g., attention, memory, problem solving, executive functions).
  • swallowing or other upper aerodigestive functions such as infant feeding and aeromechanical events
  • voice (hoarseness (dysphonia), poor vocal volume (hypophonia), abnormal (e.g. rough, breathy, strained) vocal quality.
  • sensory awareness related to communication, swallowing, or other upper aerodigestive functions.
  • speech (phonation, articulation, fluency [including stuttering and aphasia], resonance, and voice [including aeromechanical components of respiration])
  • language (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatic/social aspects of communication) including comprehension and expression in oral, written, graphic, and manual modalities; language processing, preliteracy and language-based literacy skills, phonological awareness.