Speech language pathology study is a field of medicine that addresses human communication disorders such as social communication disorder, stuttering, speech-sound disorders, mixed receptive and expressive language disorder. Speech pathologists also referred to as speech therapists, are experts in communication and their primary function is to evaluate, diagnose and treat human communication and associated disorders like language, speech, and swallowing for both children and adults.
Types of Speech Disorders
A speech disorder is a condition that affects a person’s ability to communicate properly; having difficulties to produce normal speech. These disorders include:
Type of speech disorder associated with difficulties in uttering particular sounds and it often indicated by indistinct or slurry speech and speech sound error which involves sound substitution and omission. It becomes hard to understand what a person with an articulation disorder is trying to communicate. This condition is treated through speech therapy
2. Fluency Disorders
Another type of speech disorder in which the eloquence of speech is interrupted, much like cluttering and stuttering. It involves delays or unusual stops, part-sound, syllable, and word repetitions, and this condition is associated with genetic and cognitive miscommunication. Fluency disorders are common in children than adults, luckily many child speech pathologists can help treat this condition. It’s important especially for children to have speech fluency as it goes a long way to boost confidence. Speech disorders have been linked to self-esteem issues.
3. Voice and Resonance Disorders
Speech disorders that affect voice tone, quality, pitch and volume impending the listener to clearly get the message. They are often characterized by voice discomfort, hoarseness, pain, and vocal fatigue upon voicing. It’s often painful in children and they’re the more susceptible than adults due to structural birth defects.
For adults especially, voice and resonance disorders may occur from traumatic brain injury, stroke, genetic diseases, and other neurological disorders.
Types of Language and Feeding Disorders
A language disorder is a condition that affects someone’s ability to comprehend or create communicative ideas. The three types of language disorders are receptive, expressive and cognitive-communication disorders, which is commonly associated with brain miscommunication.
Feeding disorders, on the other hand, are problems that affect how someone eats, drink and even the appetite. People with this condition have difficulty in chewing and swallowing food, and often gag or cough while eating.
Speech language pathology career opportunities are vast. It has become an integral part of most institutions, both private, public and non-governmental. If you’re looking to pursue a career in speech language pathology, these are some of the areas you can expect to work:
- Private speech therapy services
- Education institutions such as elementary, colleges and universities
- Hospitals and health care centers
- Rehabilitation centers
Functions of Speech Language Pathologists
The main function of a speech-language therapist is to evaluate and help a child overcome speech and swallowing problems. Speech therapy for kids involves three main strategies, including:
Language Intervention Activities
This is one of the most effective speech therapy for kids as it involves interaction through fun activities between the SLP and the child. Examples of language intervention activities include talking, singing, playing, reading and storytelling. These activities are designed to increase the child’s awareness, encourage speech and language development through schedule routines and repetition exercises.
Articulation therapy is focused on helping children learn how to produce sounds and sentences. The speech-language pathologist will take the child through a series of sounds, syllable, and word exercises, often during playful singing or reading activities. The therapists will teach the child how to say certain words and the right tongue position for particular sounds.
Feeding and Swallowing Therapy
Here, speech-language pathologists may use different oral exercises to increase the strength of the child’s oral structures such as the soft palate muscle. Examples of oral motor exercises include stimulation of the cheeks, lips, jaws, and tongue through facial massage.
By strengthening and coordinating oral structures such as the muscles and bones, a child will be able to chew, drink and swallow food without difficulty. With the knowledge of speech language pathology, overcoming human communication disorders is now easy but it requires patience.