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What is a Speech Language Pathologist?

By definition, speech language pathologists (also referred to as speech therapists/ speech language specialists/ speech language therapists) are professionals who are educated to assess speech and language development and to treat speech and language disorders in people of all ages. The American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) is the professional association that credentials over 180, 000 members nation-wide. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems, including but not limited to:

  • speech sounds ~ how we produce sounds or put sounds together in words

  • language ~ how we understand what we hear and how we use words to express our thoughts

  • literacy~ how well we read and write

  • social communication ~ how we follow rules in conversation, talk to other people, play with others

  • voice ~ how our voices sound

  • fluency ~ commonly known as stuttering- how smoothly our speech flows (people who stutter often repeat sounds)

  • cognitive-communication ~ how well we attend to tasks, problem solving, memory and other thinking skills

  • feeding and swallowing ~ how well we suck, chew, and swallow foods and drinks

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SLPs can be found in clinics, private offices, hospitals, schools, medical rehabilitation facilities, long-term health care facilities/ nursing homes. To find an SLP in your area contact your state speech-language and hearing Association, contact ASHA ProFind or Having Our Say.

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