Speech pathologists, alternatively called speech-language pathologists and speech therapists, are medical professionals who help individuals suffering from various problems related to communication. Such patients may experience a range of issues that impact speech production, perception and comprehension. Whether in a hospital environment or a private practice, speech pathologists provide numerous essential services to clients that promote more effective self-expression and interaction with others.
To gain a better understanding of a particular person's speech problem, a pathologist often reviews background information thoroughly and interviews the client to clarify related issues.
Once a pathologist makes an initial assessment, she then diagnoses the specific problem by conducting or arranging appropriate examinations and tests, such as a hearing evaluation.
A major responsibility of a speech pathologist's job is creating an optimal and individualized treatment plan for a client that directly addresses his speech difficulties and offers a realistic chance of steady progress overcoming them.
Consultations with speech pathologists also include advice on how to prevent communication problems from recurring or increasing in the future. For example, a therapist might show a patient who stutters techniques to avoid or manage stressful situations in order to make relapses less likely.
Licensing and registration requirements active in 47 states compel speech pathologists to successfully meet continuing education expectations. As a result, therapists spend significant time continually developing their expertise while learning more about their field.
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