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What is an SLP?

A Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) is a professional who works with people to improve over-all communication.

This means that they can work on SO much more than just lisps and “r” pronunciation in elementary school students (though that IS important!).

SLPs can work in schools, hospitals, or clinics with both children and adults and work on the following areas of communication:

Language: what we understand (receptive language) and what is being said (expressive language). This includes helping people improve skills such as following directions, vocabulary, and grammar.

Often, people think of “language” services to be with babies/children learning language for the first time, but SLPs also work with individuals to rehabilitate language (meaning, these individuals have lost language through brain damage, stroke, disease, etc. and are working to regain skills and function).

Photo by Ali Yahya on Unsplash

Speech: SLPs work on improving a person’s speech intelligibility — meaning, a person’s production of sounds, or articulation. Lisps and “R” production are on the list of speech sounds that an SLP can help with.

Fluency: SLPs can work with people who have a hard time maintaining fluent speech, or people who stutter. SLPs work on increasing fluency in speech.

Voice: SLPs work with a variety of voice disorders cause by misuse of the vocal cords or by trauma. People who use their voice a lot (teachers, singers, etc.) often have voice disorders.

Social: Social skills, or pragmatic skills, include the ability to use verbal and nonverbal language with others in social situations. Some people learn these “expected behaviors” really quickly, while others need a little more help. SLPs work on increasing these social skills to improve communication.

Swallowing: Did you know an SLP administers a swallowing evaluation at hospitals? They work alongside radiologists to diagnose swallowing disorders. SLPs are also the ones who provide therapy for patients who have swallowing disorders.

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