What is SLP?

Speech-Language Pathology

Speech-language pathology is a field of expertise practiced by a clinician known as a speech-language pathologist (SLP), also sometimes referred to as a speech and language therapist or a speech therapist. SLP is considered a “related health profession”.
SLPs specialize in the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of communication disorders (speech disorders and language disorders), cognitive-communication disorders, voice disorders, and swallowing disorders. SLPs also play an important role in the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder (often in a team with pediatricians and psychologists).
A common misconception is that speech-language pathology is restricted to adjusting a speaker’s speech sound articulation to meet the expected normal pronunciation, such as helping English speaking individuals enunciate the traditionally difficult “r”. SLPs can also often help people who stutter to speak more fluently. Articulation and fluency are only two facets of the work of an SLP, however. In fact, speech-language pathology is concerned with a broad scope of speech, language, swallowing, and voice issues involved in communication, some of which include:
▪ Word-finding and other semantic issues, either as a result of a specific language impairment (SLI) such as a language delay or as a secondary characteristic of a more general issue such as dementia.
▪ Social communication difficulties involving how people communicate or interact with others (pragmatics).
▪ Structural language impairments, including difficulties creating sentences that are grammatical (syntax) and modifying word meaning (morphology).
▪ Literacy impairments (reading and writing) related to the letter-to-sound relationship (phonics), the word-to-meaning relationship (semantics), and understanding the ideas presented in a text (reading comprehension).
▪ Voice difficulties, such as a raspy voice, a voice that is too soft, or other voice difficulties that negatively impact a person’s social or professional performance.
▪ Cognitive impairments (e.g., attention, memory, executive function) to the extent that they interfere with communication.
The components of speech production include:
▪ phonation (producing sound)
▪ resonance
▪ fluency
▪ Intonation
▪ Pitch variance;
▪ Voice (including aeromechanical components of respiration)
The components of language include:
▪ Phonology (manipulating sound according to the rules of a language);
▪ Morphology (understanding components of words and how they can modify meaning);
▪ Syntax (constructing sentences according to the grammatical rules of a target language);
▪ Semantics (interpreting signs or symbols of communication such as words or signs to construct meaning);
▪ Pragmatics (social aspects of communication).
Primary pediatric speech and language disorders include: receptive and expressive language disorders, speech sound disorders, childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), stuttering, and language-based learning disabilities.Speech pathologist not only work with adolescents with speech and language impediments, but also those that are elderly.
Stuttering disorder -Stuttering is a speech disorder characterized by repetition of sounds, syllables, or words; prolongation of sounds; and interruptions in speech known as blocks. An individual who stutters exactly knows what he or she would like to say but has trouble producing a normal flow of speech. These speech disruptions may be accompanied by struggle behaviors, such as rapid eye blinks or tremors of the lips. Stuttering can make it difficult to communicate with other people, which often affects a person’s quality of life and interpersonal relationships. Stuttering can also negatively influence job performance and opportunities, and treatment can come at a high financial cost.