As in many social situations, I am often asked what I do for a living. I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times I hear “oh so you fix lisps?” as a response. I often times laugh this off and try to explain as best I can that there are an array of communication disorders that I treat throughout the day. People are often shocked by the extent of a Speech Pathologist’s work. “You do feeding?” or “You work with stroke victims?”
Once in awhile, I will come across individuals who empathize with my line of work and will add how a family member or friend is seeing a speech pathologist for one reason or another. I started to think, “how can I get the word out there about what we as SLP’s really do?” I guess that this blog and the help of fellow SLP’s can be a good way to start! Let’s begin with a list of just some of the things that SLP’s do on a daily basis:
Work environments include: hospitals, schools, clinics, private practices, home based therapy, organizations, agencies, colleges and universities, nursing-care facilities, state and federal government agencies, rehabilitation centers, research laboratories.
Bedside Assessment of Swallowing
Establishing safe diets for clients with oral-motor weakness
Fluency treatment (stuttering)
A variety of formal and informal evaluations/assessments to determine language impairment.
Treating individuals with cleft-lips and palates
Decreasing speech impediments (lisps).
Work as a part of an interdisciplinary team with other health professionals to diagnose and treat (occupational therapists, physical therapists, doctors, nurses, psychologists)
Treatment in a variety of communication disorders and medical conditions including but not limited to: auditory processing disorder, comprehension deficits, hearing impairments, oral-motor disorders, myofunctional disorders, phonological processing disorders, Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Apraxia, Aphasia, ALS (Lou Gherigs Disease), Dysarthria, Dysphagia, Traumatic Brain Injury, AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication), Huntington’s Disease, Laryngeal or Oral Cancer, Dementia, Stroke, Tracheotomy patients, ADHD, Selective Mutism.
I am hoping that by sharing this information, people can better understand the work of a speech pathologist as well as the settings that they work in. The next time you are asked at a party, “what do you do for a living?” I hope you take that opportunity to spread the importance of speech pathology and how this treatment can change many peoples’ lives.