Each May the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) launches Better Speech and Hearing Month, a public awareness campaign designed to bring attention to communication disorders and spread the word about services that are available for people with speech, language, or hearing issues to improve their communication and overall quality of life. Speech-language pathologists are a key resource in helping people with communication disorders improve their ability to communicate with those around them. But have you ever wondered exactly what a speech-language pathologist does? Some of the answers may surprise you! Here are just a few of the basic issues that speech therapists work with on a daily basis:
- Speech Disorders: Speech disorders involve how a person’s words actually sound. There are a huge number of sounds in the English language, and if a person has difficulty with even one of these, it can seriously impact communication. A speech-language pathologist can identify and target problem sounds and help head off issues in communication.
- Language Disorders: While speech primarily concerns sounds, language disorders involve anything that causes a problem in finding the words to express a thought or understanding the words others say. Language can be affected by a number of issues including strokes and other brain injuries as well as developmental problems.
- Voice Disorders: Like any other part of the human body, the vocal cords can be injured. A speech therapist can provide training on how to use your voice in a way that is healthy, while still coming across clear and strong. Speech-language pathologists can also help modify other vocal quality issues, such as an overly nasal or high-pitched voice.
- Social Language: The ability to use language in social situations can be a challenge for people with certain disorders including autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). Speech therapists can help people learn social language skills such as maintaining and changing a topic, conversational turn-taking, and reading your listener’s body language and facial expressions.
- Swallowing Disorders: Many people may find this surprising, but speech-language pathologists also work with people who have difficulty swallowing. Whether the problem is due to a stroke, a developmental disorder, or even dementia, a speech-language pathologist can help make recommendations and develop strategies to make swallowing safer and easier.
If you have any questions or would like to know more about speech-language therapy, give me a call at (212) 308-7725 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to chat and answer any questions you may have.
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