Speech Therapists

Who Performs the Treatment?

A speech-language pathologist (SLPs), also known as a speech therapist, is a professional trained to evaluate and diagnose speech and communication problems. Speech therapists, often work as part of a team, which may include teachers, physicians, audiologists, psychologists, social workers, rehabilitation counselors and others.

If a child has difficulty saying words that begin with “b,” the therapist may suggest daily practice with a list of “b” words, increasing their difficulty as each list is mastered. Other kinds of exercises help children master the social skills involved in communicating by teaching them to keep their head up, maintain eye contact, and repeat themselves when they are misunderstood.

Speech interventions often use a child’s family members and friends to reinforce the lessons learned in a therapeutic setting. This kind of indirect therapy encourages people who are in close daily contact with a child to create opportunities for him or her to use their new skills in conversation.

What Level of Training is Required for a Speech Therapist?

Speech language pathologists receive extensive training. On the undergraduate level, a program of study in communication sciences is available, with course work in linguistics, phonetics, anatomy, psychology, human development, biology, physiology, mathematics, physical science, social/behavioral sciences and semantics. The work of a speech-language pathologists is further enhanced by graduate education, which is mandated for certification by the Council For Clinical Certification (CFCC) of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA), the professional, scientific, and credentialing association for audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists. In most states, speech-language pathologists and audiologists also must comply with state regulatory (licensure) standards to practice and/or have state education certification. The requirements for licensure or teacher certification are very similar or identical to ASHA’s requirements.