What Does a Speech Pathologist Do?
What Is a Speech-Language Pathologist?
- Articulation or phonological disorders, such as dysarthria or apraxia of speech.
- Language processing challenges.
- Language fluency, including stuttering.
- Feeding and swallowing difficulties due to dysphagia.
- Social communication pragmatics.
Speech Pathologist vs. Speech Therapist
Job Description of a Speech Pathologist
- Conduct screenings to assess a client’s speech and swallowing challenges.
- Evaluate and diagnose speech, language and communication disorders.
- Develop an appropriate treatment plan.
- Provide rehabilitation or communication strategies for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
- Train, communicate and educate family and caregivers of those with communication or swallowing disorders.
- Offer augmentative and alternative communication systems for clients who experience challenges with severe social expression or language comprehension disorders, such as those on the autism spectrum.
- Use an interdisciplinary approach to address a client’s communication and swallowing needs.
- Complete administrative tasks, including the recording of a client’s progress during and after treatment and the maintenance of client records.
Speech-Language Pathologists in Hospitals vs. in Schools
What Does an SLP Do in a Hospital?
- Diagnosing and treating cognitive, language, communication and swallowing disorders.
- Working with a range of clients who suffer from chronic diseases or have been affected by neurological events causing trauma to the brain, such as stroke, seizure, cancer or physical trauma.
- Prescribing modified diet plans for clients experiencing difficulty swallowing and symptoms of dysphagia.
- Conducting periodic screenings.
- Providing guidance, support and education to clients and their primary caregivers.
- Informing clinical staff about communication disorders to provide clients with a holistic health treatment plan.
- Conducting research on treatment methods for communication and swallowing disorders.
What Does an SLP Do in a School?
- Conducting diagnostic evaluations and assessing students’ communication skills.
- Working with school-age children or college students with a range of learning, physical and auditory disabilities or disorders that adversely affect their educational performance.
- Identifying students who may be at risk for future communication and swallowing disorders or challenges.
- Consulting with and informing teachers, administrators and families about the prevention of and treatment for communication disorders.
- Performing classroom-based services as well as facilitating small-group and individual speech sessions.
- Working collaboratively to develop a treatment plan tailored to an individual student’s communication and swallowing challenges.
- Developing and implementing Individualized Family Service Plans and Individualized Education Programs.
- Documenting as required by federal, state and local agencies.
- Supervising clinical practicums for students working toward their SLP certification.
- Participating in schoolwide curriculum and literacy teams.