What Does a Speech Pathologist Do?

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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.

Assessment

  • 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.

Diagnosis

  • 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.

Treatment

  • 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.

Prevention

  • 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.

Education

  • 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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