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Speech Disorders

In: Science

Submitted By lizkrudo
Words 910
Pages 4
Elizabeth Krudo
For many people who are afflicted with a speech impediment, there often seems to be little hope. Many of these people are ridiculed as children, or cast out of society as a young adult because they are not able to communicate as efficiently as others. A speech and language pathologist can help them, and ultimately, change their life. Speech-language pathologists are sometimes called speech therapists. Their duties are to assess, diagnose, treat, and help those with communication and swallowing disorders. Speech, language, and swallowing disorders result from a variety of causes including stroke, brain injury, hearing loss, developmental delay, cleft lip or palate, cerebral palsy, and even people with emotional problems. Speech pathologists play a very important role in the lives of many people. Speech pathology is a relatively new profession. Many people believe that children suffering from a speech disorder will eventually grow out of it. However, this is not always the case. The profession first surfaced in the late 1940s, after World War II. Many soldiers returned from the frontlines with head wounds that limited or altered their ability to speak. Teachers, neurologists, and other doctors wanted to help the injured men, and a profession was born. Speech pathologists work with people who cannot speak clearly or at all. In America, this includes people who speak English as a second language. They also work with people who have problems with swallowing and eating. Speech and language pathologists often work alongside audiologists because speech problems are often accompanied with hearing issues. The speech pathologist tries to find what the cause of a patient’s speech problem might be. Speech pathologists evaluate the patient’s needs by using formal tests to discover his or her ability to create sounds. Once they have identified the problem, the speech pathologist begins treatment. The speech pathologist will use oral stimulation, activities that develop language and speech skills, practice articulation, help with breathing patterns, and sound support. Speech pathologists work with both children and adults. It is important that children with suspected speech disorders be screened early because research has shown that these disorders can lead to learning disabilities later in life.
Speech pathologists can be found working in schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and private offices. Speech and language pathologists may also work with psychiatrists, psychologists, neurologists, otolaryngologists, and social workers. A typical session would last about one hour, and many patients will go home with “homework” to continue therapy at home without the SLP around. Sometimes children visit the speech and language pathologists during school hours, and other may visit a private office after school or work. Adults who are learning English as a second language may even enroll in group classes in which multiple students attend with one SLP as a teacher. Becoming a speech and language pathologists requires many years of schooling. Upon entrance of college most will obtain an undergraduate degree. Studies should include: linguistics, semantics, and phonetics. The speech pathology major should also take courses in psychology and acoustics. Graduate training is made up of five general topics: the development of languages, speech and hearing; evaluation of patients; the nature of speech problems; research techniques; and treatment. After attending college and graduating with a degree, the new speech pathologist must pass a written exam to be licensed. Most speech pathologists must have 300-375 hours of clinical experience before licensing. Speech pathologists are in high demand, and jobs opportunities for speech pathologists are on the rise. According to the “Occupational Outlook Handbook” the average annual wage of speech-language pathologists was $66,920 in May 2010. The lowest 10% earned less than $42,970 and the top 10% more than $103,630.
I interviewed Danielle Ladin, M.S. CCC-SLP, who graduated from USF in 2011. Danielle works in a public elementary school in South Florida. She described her favorite thing about being an SLP as having the opportunity to help children while playing games, and seeing the reaction of parents when their child learns to say “mommy” or “daddy” for the first time. She has always wanted to be a speech and language pathologist, and spent many summers helping her mom who is also an SLP. The only downfalls, in Danielle’s opinion, are the lack of adult interaction and the amount of schooling required for the profession. She said that despite the time commitment to school she would highly recommend the profession to others. “I like to think I hit the job jackpot as far as what I am doing now. I get to play toys with little kids all day long and help them to grow and develop their speech and language skills. Yes, it can be very hard and tiring, but more times than not, my job is really fun!”

Speech and Language Pathology is a career with an underestimated importance. It is a type of therapy that is used for many different reasons, and can help an array of patients. I found this profession to be very interesting. I never realized the extent of patients that an SLP works with. Becoming a speech and language pathologist does require a lot of schooling, however most professions do these days.

"Bureau of Labor Statistics." Occupational Outlook Handbook: Speech and Language Pathologists. N.p., 29 2012. Web. 25 Nov 2012. < Florida Health Careers. Print.

Ladin, M.S. CCC-SLP, Danielle. Telephone Interview. 02 2012.


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