When most people think about speech-language pathologists (S-LPs) they probably think of someone who helps people who stutter or have a lisp. While it’s true that they do help with those issues, their scope of practice is a whole lot broader.
Speech-language pathologists are highly-educated professionals who have a minimum of a master’s degree in their field. As in any health-care related profession, S-LPs are required to study anatomy and physiology, but they also study neuroanatomy, genetics, human and language development, linguistics, psychology, acoustics and more, which is why they are qualified to evaluate, diagnose (restricted in some provinces/territories) and treat a broad range of delays and disorders.
Speech-language pathologists can help with:
- Speech delays and disorders including articulation, phonology and motor speech disorders.
- Language delays and disorders, including expression and comprehension in oral and non-verbal contexts
- Fluency disorders, including stuttering.
- Voice and resonance disorders.
- Swallowing and feeding disorders in adults, children and infants.
- Cognitive-communicative disorders including social communication skills, reasoning, problem solving and executive functions.
- Pre-literacy and literacy skills including phonological awareness, decoding, reading comprehension and writing.
- Communication and swallowing disorders related to other issues. For example, hearing impairments, traumatic brain injury, dementia, developmental, intellectual or genetic disorders and neurological impairments.