What do Speech-Language Pathologists do?

Assess and treat persons with speech, language, voice, and fluency disorders. May select alternative communication systems and teach their use. May perform research related to speech and language problems.

  • Monitor patients' progress and adjust treatments accordingly.
  • Evaluate hearing or speech and language test results, barium swallow results, or medical or background information to diagnose and plan treatment for speech, language, fluency, voice, or swallowing disorders.
  • Administer hearing or speech and language evaluations, tests, or examinations to patients to collect information on type and degree of impairments, using written or oral tests or special instruments.
  • Write reports and maintain proper documentation of information, such as client Medicaid or billing records or caseload activities, including the initial evaluation, treatment, progress, and discharge of clients.
  • Develop or implement treatment plans for problems such as stuttering, delayed language, swallowing disorders, or inappropriate pitch or harsh voice problems, based on own assessments and recommendations of physicians, psychologists, or social workers.
  • Develop individual or group activities or programs in schools to deal with behavior, speech, language, or swallowing problems.
  • Participate in and write reports for meetings regarding patients' progress, such as individualized educational planning (IEP) meetings, in-service meetings, or intervention assistance team meetings.
  • Complete administrative responsibilities, such as coordinating paperwork, scheduling case management activities, or writing lesson plans.
  • Instruct clients in techniques for more effective communication, such as sign language, lip reading, or voice improvement.
  • Educate patients and family members about various topics, such as communication techniques or strategies to cope with or to avoid personal misunderstandings.
  • Teach clients to control or strengthen tongue, jaw, face muscles, or breathing mechanisms.
  • Develop speech exercise programs to reduce disabilities.
  • Communicate with non-speaking students, using sign language or computer technology.
  • Participate in conferences, training, continuing education courses, or publish research results to share knowledge of new hearing or speech disorder treatment methods or technologies.
  • Supervise or collaborate with therapy team.
  • Consult with and advise educators or medical staff on speech or hearing topics, such as communication strategies or speech and language stimulation.
  • Consult with and refer clients to additional medical or educational services.
  • Design, develop, or employ alternative diagnostic or communication devices or strategies.
  • Conduct lessons or direct educational or therapeutic games to assist teachers dealing with speech problems.
  • Use computer applications to identify or assist with communication disabilities.
  • Provide communication instruction to dialect speakers or students with limited English proficiency.
  • Conduct or direct research on speech or hearing topics and report findings for use in developing procedures, technologies, or treatments.

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Necessary Skills

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Monitoring
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Active Listening
  • Active Learning
  • Learning Strategies
  • Critical Thinking