Speech-language pathology

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Speech-language pathology is a branch practiced by Speech-language pathologists (SLPs), also called speech and language therapists,[1] or speech therapists, specialize in the evaluation and treatment of communication disorders and swallowing disorders.

The components of speech production include: phonation, producing sound; resonance; fluency; intonation, variance of pitch; and voice, including aeromechanical components of respiration. The components of language include: phonology, manipulating sound according to the rules of a language; morphology, understanding and using minimal units of meaning; syntax, constructing sentences by using languages' grammar rules; semantics, interpreting signs or symbols of communication to construct meaning; and pragmatics, social aspects of communication.[2]

National approaches to speech and language pathology[edit]

Speech-language pathology is known by a variety of names in different countries:

Prior to 2006, the practice of Speech-Language Pathology in the United States was regulated by the individual states. Since January 2006, the 2005 "Standards and Implementation Procedures for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology" guidelines given by The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) have determined the qualification requirements to obtain "Speech-Language Pathology Clinical Fellowship". First, individuals must obtain an undergraduate degree, which may be in a field related to speech-language-hearing sciences. Second, individuals must graduate from an accredited master's program in speech-language pathology. Many graduate programs will allow coursework absent in undergraduate study to be completed during graduate work. Some states licensure regulations differ. The Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) is granted after the clinical fellowship year (CFY), when the individual provides services under the supervision of an experienced and licensed SLP. After a CCC in Speech-Language Pathology is awarded, continuing education is required every three years to maintain certification.[3] Post-master's graduate study for a Speech-Language Pathologist may consist of academic, research, and clinical practice. A doctoral degree (Ph.D, Ed.D, or a clinical speech-language pathology doctorate) is currently optional for clinicians wishing to serve the public.

The practice of speech-language pathology may include the following competencies (ASHA, 1996b):

Provide screening, identification, assessment, diagnosis, treatment, intervention, and follow-up services for people with speech and language disorders
Provide consultation and counseling, and make referrals when appropriate
Train and support family members and other communication partners of individuals with speech, voice, language, communication, and swallowing disabilities
Develop and establish effective augmentative and alternative communication techniques and strategies
Select, fit, and establish the effective use of appropriate prosthetic/adaptive devices for speaking and swallowing
Use instrumental technology to diagnose and treat disorders of communication and swallowing
Provide aural rehabilitation and related counseling services to individuals with hearing loss and to their families
Collaborate in the assessment of central auditory processing disorders in cases inwhich there is evidence of speech, language, and/or other cognitive-communication disorders
Conduct pure-tone air conduction hearing screening and screening typmanometry for the purpose of the initial identification and/or referral of individuals with other communication disorders or possible middle ear pathology
Enhance speech and language proficiency and communication effectiveness, including but not limited to accent reduction, collaboration with teachers of English as a second language, and improvement of voice, performance, and singing
Train and supervise support personnel
Develop and manage academic and clinical programs in communication sciences and disorders
Conduct, disseminate, and apply research in communication sciences and disorders
Measure outcomes of treatment and conduct continuous evaluation of the effectiveness of practices and programs to improve and maintain quality of services

- See more at: http://www.asha.org/Careers/job/slp_comp/#sthash.W5ULr4a0.dpuf

The Speech-Language Pathology vocation[edit]

Speech-Language Pathologists provide a wide range of services, mainly on an individual basis, but also as support for individuals, families, support groups, and providing information for the general public. Speech services begin with initial screening for communication and swallowing disorders and continue with assessment and diagnosis, consultation for the provision of advice regarding management, intervention and treatment, and provision counseling and other follow up services for these disorders.

Multi-discipline collaboration[edit]

Speech-Language Pathologists collaborate with other health care professionals often working as part of a multidisciplinary team, providing referrals to audiologists and others; providing information to health care professionals (including doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, dietitians), educators, behavior consultants (applied behavior analysis) and parents as dictated by the individual client's needs.

In relation to Auditory Processing Disorders[4] collaborating in the assessment and providing intervention where there is evidence of speech, language, and/or other cognitive-communication disorders.

The treatment for patients with cleft lip and palate has an obvious interdisciplinary character. The speech therapy outcome is even better when the surgical treatment is performed earlier.[5]





After all the above requirements have been met during the SLP’s path to earning the graduate degree:

Continuing Education and Training Obligations:

Professional Suffix:

Salary by state or district in the United States[edit]

Average salaries for speech-language pathologists vary somewhat throughout the United States, ranging on average between 40-90K depending on setting and years of experience.

Working environments[edit]

Speech-Language Pathologists work in a variety of clinical and educational settings. SLPs work in public and private hospitals, skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), long-term acute care (LTAC) facilities, hospice,[9] and home healthcare. SLPs may also work as part of the support structure in the education system, working in both public and private schools, colleges, and universities.[10] Some speech-language pathologists also work in community health, providing services at prisons and young offenders' institutions or providing expert testimony in applicable court cases.[11]

Subsequent to ASHA's 2005 approval of the delivery of Speech-Language Pathology services via video conference, or telepractice,[12] SLPs have begun delivering services via this service delivery method.

Methods of assessment[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Speech and language assessment.

Assessment of speech, language, cognition, and swallowing can consist of informal (non-standard or criterion based) assessments, formal standardized tests, instrumental measures, language sample analyses, and oral motor mechanism exam. Informal assessments rely on a clinician's knowledge and experience to evaluate an individual's abilities across areas of concern. Formal standardized testing is used to measure an individuals' abilities against peers. Instrumental measures (e.g., nasometer)utilizes equipment to measure physiological or anatomical impairments (e.g., Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES) or Modified Barium Swallow Study (MBS)). Oral motor assessments review the strength, co-ordination, range of movement, symmetry, and speed of cranial nerves V, VII, IX, X and XII.

Referrals to Speech and Language Pathologists should be made if there are any concerns regarding slow or limited communication development in children, cognition (limited attention, disorganization etc. following by a Traumatic Brain Injury), difficulty with word-finding, errors in speech sound production, or for Augmentative Alternative Communication needs.

Clients and patients requiring speech and language pathology services[edit]

Speech-Language Pathologists work with clients and patients who can present a wide range of issues.

Infants and children[edit]

In the US, some children are eligible to receive speech therapy services, including assessment and lessons through the public school system. If not, private therapy is readily available through personal lessons with a qualified Speech-Language Pathologist or the growing field of telepractice.[17] Teleconferencing tools such as Skype are being used more commonly as a means to access remote locations in private therapy practice, such as in the geographically diverse southern New Zealand.[18] More at-home or combination treatments have become readily available to address specific types of articulation disorders. The use of mobile applications in speech therapy is also growing as an avenue to bring treatment into the home.

In the UK, children are entitled to an assessment by local NHS Speech and Language Therapy teams, usually after referral by health visitors or education settings, but parents are also entitled to request an assessment directly.[19] If treatment is appropriate, a care plan will be drawn up. Speech therapists often play a role in multi-disciplinary teams where a child has speech delay or disorder as part of a wider health condition.

Children and adults[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Brady, MC; Kelly, H; Godwin, J; Enderby, P (May 16, 2012). "Speech and language therapy for aphasia following stroke.". The Cochrane database of systematic reviews 5: CD000425. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD000425.pub3. PMID 22592672. 
  2. ^ Block, Frances K.; Amie Amiot, Cheryl Deconde Johnson; Gina E. Nimmo; Peggy G. Von Almen; Deborah W. White; and Sara Hodge Zeno (1993), "Definitions of Communication Disorders and Variations", Ad Hoc Committee on Service Delivery in the Schools, ASHA, doi:10.1044/policy.RP1993-00208, retrieved 2010-08-07 
  3. ^ "2005 SLP Standards". 2005 Standards and Implementation Procedures for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology. 
  4. ^ DeBonis DA, Moncrieff D (February 2008). "Auditory processing disorders: an update for speech-language pathologists". Am J Speech Lang Pathol 17 (1): 4–18. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2008/002). PMID 18230810. 
  5. ^ Mihaela Frățilă, Emil Urtilă, Maria Ștefănescu (Oct 2011). "Speech therapy — criteria for determining the time of the surgical operation in surgery of labio-palato-velars cleft". Rev. chir. oro-maxilo-fac. implantol. (in Romanian) 2 (2): 21–23. ISSN 2069-3850. 33. Retrieved 2012-06-06. (webpage has a translation button)
  6. ^ http://www.asha.org/certification/Clinical-Fellowship.htm=.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ "Professional Profile of the Speech and Language Therapist". 
  8. ^ "Roles and Responsibilities of Speech-Language Pathologists in Schools". 
  9. ^ Pollens R (October 2004). "Role of the speech-language pathologist in palliative hospice care". J Palliat Med 7 (5): 694–702. doi:10.1089/jpm.2004.7.694. PMID 15588361. 
  10. ^ "Speech and language therapist - NHS Careers". 
  11. ^ "What is speech and language therapy?". 
  12. ^ "ASHA Telepractice Position Statement". Asha.org. Retrieved 2010-04-15. 
  13. ^ Bellani, M.; Moretti, A.; Perlini, C.; Brambilla, P. (Dec 2011). "Language disturbances in ADHD.". Epidemiol Psychiatr Sci 20 (4): 311–5. doi:10.1017/S2045796011000527. PMID 22201208. 
  14. ^ "International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th Revision (ICD-10) Version for 2010". World Health Organisation. 2010. 
  15. ^ https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/voice/pages/autism.aspx
  16. ^ http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/asperger/detail_asperger.htm
  17. ^ http://asha.org/telepractice/
  18. ^ http://vocalsaints.co.nz/
  19. ^ http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/helping-your-childs-speech.aspx#close
  20. ^ Ritter, Michaela J. (June 2009). "The Speech-Language Pathologist and Reading: Opportunities to Extend Services for the Children We Serve". Perspectives on School-Based Issues 10 (2): 38–44. doi:10.1044/sbi10.2.38. Retrieved 2012-04-15. 
  21. ^ "The Role of the Speech-Language Pathologist | DyslexiaHelp at the University of Michigan". 
  22. ^ Richard GJ (July 2011). "The role of the speech-language pathologist in identifying and treating children with auditory processing disorder". Lang Speech Hear Serv Sch 42 (3): 241–5. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2011/09-0090). PMID 21757563. 
  23. ^ "Language Delay in Children Under Five Years.". 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]