Treat patients with disorders like stuttering or inability to talk.
What does a Speech-Language Pathologist do?
Most of us take speaking for granted, but it is not easy for everyone. Developmental delays, learning disabilities, brain injuries, strokes, hearing loss, emotional problems, and many other conditions and situations can lead to speech problems. Speech-language pathologists work with people to improve their oral communication skills.
Patients come to you with a variety of speech-related issues: stutters or lisps, inability to pronounce certain sounds clearly, inappropriate pitch or tone of voice, accents that are hard to understand, or a complete loss of speech. It’s your job as speech-language pathologist to evaluate each patient’s speaking abilities and come up with a plan for how to improve them. Since speech disorders are often related to other problems, you often collaborate with social workers, neurologists, psychologists, and other professionals.
Your speech therapy sessions involve much more than speaking slowly and saying, “Repeat after me.” You listen to your patients carefully, and with your extensive knowledge of anatomy, acoustics, and communications, you come up with specialized exercises to help them break through. For some patients who can’t speak at all, you may give them alternative communication devices or teach them sign language.
This job is very rewarding considering you are literally helping people find their voice. Oral communication is so important in everyday life—answering the phone, asking for something in a store, telling someone about your day, going on a job interview. It’s a daily struggle for some, and as a speech-language pathologist you’re improving lives sound by sound.