Speech Pathologist is a clinical practice that involves assessing and diagnosing speech disorders. It includes a wide range of tasks, which include speech evaluation and testing, speech pathology analysis and diagnosis, speech pathology treatment, and preventive care. This field addresses the needs of individuals with disabilities in the speech therapy field. Speech Pathologists provide diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive services for the full range of speech-related disorders and diseases, and are an integral part of speech health care.
speech pathologist refers to the application of speech evaluation and diagnostics to diagnose and treat disorders in swallowing. The most common speech disorder examined by speech pathologists is dysphraxia, which is the difficulty swallowing, which can be either related to abnormalities in left ventricular functioning, anatomy, nervous system or central nervous system. Other speech disorders that can be diagnosed and treated by a speech pathologist include autism, stuttering, masking, strabismus and dyslexia. In some cases, the disorder may not be speech related, but can be due to some other medical condition.
Communication disorders, also known as articulation disorders, involve difficulties in swallowing, vocal folds or laryngeal placement. Speech pathology professionals often perform cochlear implants for individuals with hearing loss or speech language pathologists evaluate people with communication disorders that cannot speak. Some speech-language pathologists specialize in pediatric speech-language pathologies, which deal specifically with children. Children can be diagnosed with speech-language pathologies as young as three years of age.
As the field of speech-language pathology expanded to include the broader range of disorders related to voice and language, a speech therapist became an increasingly important professional in the healthcare industry. A speech pathologist has to demonstrate specific knowledge and expertise in a specific area of speech pathology to qualify for a licensing exam. The certification process requires comprehensive written communication therapy training and experience in the specific areas of speech pathology and cognitive disorders.
Although speech pathologist and speech therapist are often interchangeable, they are two separate careers. A speech pathologist performs all of the tasks associated with a speech therapist, including diagnosis and treatment, and is the primary person involved in the overall care of the patient. A speech therapist may refer a patient to a speech pathologist if they do not feel comfortable treating a particular disorder on their own. Each pathologists’ areas of specialization vary and often communicate by telephone or through regular contact.
To become a speech pathologist, a graduate degree in a related field such as Occupational or Physical Therapy is required along with a year of graduate employment in a licensed speech-language pathology practice. There are several fellowship programs available to graduate students who wish to pursue a career as a speech pathologist. Students must successfully pass a final exam, and in some states, licensing is required before practicing. Most speech-language pathologists begin their careers as an associate doctor or an intern in a hospital’s speech-language pathology department. After completing an internship, they may take a certification exam to become a licensed speech pathologist in the state where they reside.