Communication or swallowing difficulties are more common than you would expect. In those cases, working with a speech pathologist may be one of the best options to solve these obstacles.
It’s important to note that both children and adults are able to experience communication difficulties throughout their life, causing mental health issues or behavioral problems down the line. In that sense, it’s critical for people to seek help as soon as they need it.
If you want to find a speech pathologist that’s right for you, you first need to know what these specialists do. Keep reading if you want to know more about them!
What Is a Speech Pathologist?
Generally speaking, a speech pathologist is a specialist who works with people with swallowing or communication problems, such as speech impediments, stuttering, eating/drinking problems, and more.
It’s important to note that a speech pathologist may work with other professionals to ensure that the patient gets the right communication or swallowing therapy to solve any problem.
Both children and adults may have difficulty communicating due to a plethora of reasons, including dementia, cerebral palsy, disability, brain injuries, and others.
Also called SLPs, speech-language pathologists (or simply ‘speech therapists’) study human communication, development, and disorders to come up with safe ways to treat conditions.
In essence, an SLP must have the following to be able to apply therapy to a patient:
- At least a master’s degree
- Licensure in the field
- Certification from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
Depending on the case, an SLP can work with children or adults in one-on-one sessions, but they may also work with small or large groups to overcome particular problems. Some of the most common strategies used by these specialists to treat conditions involve the following:
Articulation Therapy: Here, the patient can correct sounds and syllables through play activities (in the case of children) and speech exercises (in adult cases). The SLP must adapt to their patient’s needs and provide a safe and non-invasive way to correct their articulation.
Language Intervention: Many SLPs use repetition exercises to help patients improve their language development process. Repetition is one of the best methods to build language skills, making it a highly effective alternative for those who need it. Here, the therapist may use books, objects, events, or pictures to help the patient.
Swallowing Therapy: In case the patient is struggling with their swallowing, SLPs use a wide variety of oral exercises to help them improve. These exercises include facial massages, jaw exercises, and tongue exercises. The purpose of these movements is to strengthen muscles. Some specialists also make their patients try out foods with different textures, shapes, and temperatures to improve oral awareness.
While it may sound simple, speech-language involves a lot of different disorders that may affect each patient uniquely. Learning about this pathology is critical for those who need guidance in treating their condition.
We’re going to go over each speech-language disorder so that you have a better idea of what to expect:
Speech Disorders: As mentioned before, a general speech disorder is when the patient has difficulty producing particular sounds correctly, such as stuttering. Speech disorders may also involve general problems with a person’s voice.
Language Disorders: Here, the person may have problems either understanding people or sharing their thoughts and feelings. It’s important to note that language disorders may appear both in spoken and written form, and the therapy received depends on the case.
Social Communication Disorders: If a person has any problems using verbal and non-verbal communication in social environments, they may have a social communication disorder. Anyone with autism spectrum disorder, for example, may have social communication problems. However, people who recently had a traumatic brain injury may also experience these problems.
Cognitive-Communication Disorder: Here, people may have some trouble organizing their thoughts, paying attention, or solving problems. Typically, these disorders come up following a traumatic brain injury, stroke, or dementia. In rare cases, these disorders are congenital.
Swallowing Disorder (Dysphagia): These may come up following an illness, stroke, injury, or surgery.
Some other areas where SLPs may help their patients recover involve the following:
- Aural rehabilitation for hard-of-hearing patients
- Augmentative and alternative communication systems for people with severe language/expressive comprehension disorders
- Therapy for those who don’t have any of the disorders mentioned above but still want to improve their communication skills
Benefits of Speech Pathology
If you’re looking for a ‘speech pathologist near me,’ you must first understand what you can gain by getting this therapy service. Thankfully, there are a lot of health benefits you can enjoy if you work with the right specialist, so we’re going to lay down some of the most remarkable advantages here:
First, speech pathologists may give mothers advice on how they can feed babies born with a cleft palate. A cleft palate is a birth condition where the tissue of the mouth’s roof doesn’t join together correctly, causing some difficulty while feeding or speaking.
In the case of children, those who are slow to talk or have general difficulty with written or spoken expression may benefit from working with a speech pathology professional. Moreover, SLPs can help children with ASD.
On the other hand, adults can get help in any of the following areas:
- Improving hearing
- Decreasing the amount of stuttering
- Improving speech in people with acquired brain injuries
- Improving speech in people with an intellectual disability
- Helping professional voice users take care of their voice correctly
- Helping people who have a hard time eating or drinking without choking
While we mentioned before that you could get treatment with individual sessions or group sessions, here’s a list of other methods SLPs use to give treatment:
- Home-based programs
- Resources for families
- Community organizations
- Teacher support
Where Can You Find a Speech Pathologist?
In case you’re looking for a pediatric speech-language pathologist near you, one of the most popular ways to do it is by asking for referrals. If you don’t have access to any referrals, you may still check online directories, the ASHA’s website, and other state associations that deal with speech-language pathology.
Using REST to Supplement SLP Therapy
If you’re looking to supplement your SLP therapy sessions, and or find a general tool used to assist your child with ADHD, Autism, Down syndrome, and other neurological disorders, consider learning more about our REST (Responsive Equine Simulator Therapy) chair which is now being implemented by school boards and households across the country to help children with neurological disorders.
REST: Because it works
It’s time to put REST into your life. And take advantage of all of the benefits equine motion has to offer any time, any place. At Gait, we firmly believe it will be a powerful, rewarding, and effective tool for helping treat your special needs child, children, or adult.
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