Speech Therapy…Beyond Articulation!
Laura Ironman, MS, CCC-SLP
May is Better Speech and Hearing Month! 🌟When I tell people I’m a Speech-Language Pathologist I usually hear the same few lines: “Oh my cousin went to speech for their ‘R’ Sound” or “Oh so you fix lisps!” While yes, I do help with speech, there is the “Language” and “Pathologist” part of my title that typically gets overlooked.
Speech Language Pathologists work in a variety of settings with people of varied ages and difficulties. My sister is an SLP in a NICU working on the feeding and swallowing of new born infants. I also have SLP friends and colleagues working in nursing homes where they focus on rehabilitating the language, cognition and swallowing of people who have had strokes, dementia, and so on. I am a pediatric SLP working in a private outpatient clinic focusing on children ages 0-18.
So, what do you do if you don’t just work on “R” and “S” sounds?
While I do work with Speech production disorders, including “R” and “S” help, this also includes difficulties like when a child takes off the end sounds from their words, or skips certain sounds in words (maybe they say “soon” for “spoon”). This also covers childhood apraxia-of-speech which is a motor planning issue. The child knows what they want to say, they understand what you are saying but when they try to make a word themselves, there is a disconnect from the brain to the mouth and the child’s sounds can get jumbled.
But you mentioned something about Language and Speech?
Yep! Language and speech are different. Speech focuses on how you produce words, and language is the meaning behind the words. SLPs work with many children with expressive language disorders, which means something is wrong with how they communicate with others. SLPs also work with receptive language disorders, which is when something is wrong with how they comprehend what others are saying to them. There is also social communication, which focuses on taking appropriate turns when talking, maintaining a topic of conversation, understanding tone of voice and sarcasm, understanding jokes, and more!
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