What is Speech-Language Pathology?

When deciding to become a Speech-Language Pathologist, no one told me that I would spend the rest of my career explaining what it is I do. But as I got further into my education, I realized that the scope of what an SLP can do is so large that it’s no wonder no one knows what we do.

A Speech-Language Pathologist is a specialist who focuses on communication, speech, and language. Speech-Language & Audiology of Canada (SAC) states that an SLP can work on a wide range of skills. SAC created the list below highlighting some of the skill areas that an SLP can work on.

  • Speech sound production (making and using sounds)
  • Resonance (the airflow of speech)
  • Voice (volume, pitch, vocal hygiene)
  • Fluency (stutters, atypical dysfluencies)
  • Prelinguistic communication (back and forth interactions, joint attention, gestures)
  • Cognitive communication (attention, memory, problem solving, decision making)
  • Language comprehension and expression (understanding what is being said, following directions, getting a message out clearly)
  • Pre-literacy and literacy skills (recognizing or producing rhymes, understanding that stories have a beginning, middle and end)
  • Social communication (entering into play, making friends, understanding the “unspoken rules of social situations”
  • Feeding and swallowing
  • Alternative augmentative communication (using visual systems, signs, electronic systems to communicate)
  • Aural rehabilitation (working with people with hearing aids or cochlear implants)

The original version of the list above as well as more information about the scope of practice for a Speech-Language Pathologist (settings and roles), can be found at SAC Scope of Practice.

If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me. I would be happy to discuss my career with you!

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