June 06, 2019

Understanding the Role of a Speech-Language Pathologist

The field of Speech-Language Pathology is a mystery to most individuals who have not had direct experience with these licensed professionals.  Many assume that Speech-Language Pathologists help children who cannot pronounce an ‘r’ to do so correctly, but why would you need a pathologist to do that?  In the practice of medicine, a pathologist is a physician whose work helps diagnose, manage, and treat conditions. Like a detective on the case, they help pinpoint facts and give the treating physician the information they need to deliver care to the patient. So exactly what is a Speech-Language Pathologist?

Speech-Language Pathologists are highly trained professionals who must earn a Master’s Degree in their field, must complete a period of documented supervision under a licensed clinician prior to receiving their professional license, and must complete all requirements for the Certification of Clinical Competency in addition to licensing. They must meet specific requirements to renew that license every 2 years, and are subject to federal, state, and local regulations as well as guidelines of their professional organization, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

A Speech-Language Pathologist helps diagnose, manage, and treat speech, language, cognitive, and swallowing disorders. Providing services across the entire lifespan, they serve in settings such as schools, clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, skilled nursing facilities, and in homes. In the adult population, clinicians treat a wide variety of disorders including:

Dysphagia:  difficulty swallowing

Aphasia:  difficulty using verbal and/or written language

Cognitive-communication disorders:  difficulty with thinking, attention, memory, solving problems

Dysarthria:  difficulty speaking clearly due to problems with musculature of the speech mechanism

Voice disorders:  problems with pitch and loudness caused by issues with vocal mechanism

Speech-Language Pathologists are also a vital part of the Baptist Health Home Care team.  They work closely with physicians, nurses, physical therapists, and occupational therapists to facilitate recovery for their patients in the comfort of their own homes.

To find out more about in-home speech therapy, please contact Baptist Health Home Care or reach out to us at BaptistHealthHomeCare.com.

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