Who Are Speech-Language Pathologists?

SLP is the short form for a speech-language pathologist, and they are professionals who work with various communication disorders. They offer speech and language therapy for issues concerned with stuttering, articulation, swallowing, semantics, vocalization, word-finding, and phonics. The causes of all the mentioned problems may be due to a brain injury, stroke, autism, psychological issues, hearing loss, a cleft palate, and developmental delay. Let us discuss the role of an SLP in speech therapy in detail.

All You Need to Know About a Speech-Language Pathologist

Speech-language pathologists are a part of the rehabilitation team, which contains audiologists, psychologists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists. SLP work in clinical and educational environments like hospitals, private clinics, nursing homes, research laboratories, physician's offices, rehabilitation centers, preschools, colleges, universities, etc. They are very important to sort most of the speech issues, and without them, it would be impossible to restore the lives of a majority of the patients to normal. With effective speech and language therapy, speech-language pathologists help resolve issues like slurs or the inability to pronounce specific words. They work with children and adults and are known to develop speech skills in patients who have difficulty expressing information or formulating sentences.

Also Read: Speech Therapy in Adults: How Long Does it Take?

A few people find it challenging to communicate or understand others. Speech-language pathologists offer the best speech and language therapy and help such patients overcome their problems. Stroke is a highly recorded health issue in big cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Mumbai. SLPs offer extensive help to stroke recovered patients as they develop difficulty talking and swallowing. In children with swollen tonsils, speech impairments may happen due to blockages. Speech-language pathologists take up the responsibility of treating such kids too.

Reasons to Consult SLPs

If your beloved ones face speech problems, it is good to reach out to SLPs as early as possible. The major reasons to seek help from SLPs and take up speech and language therapy are:

  1. Difficulty in communication after an illness or injury- In such cases, speech therapy will regain the ability of the patients to express their needs, carry out their routine tasks and succeed in their careers without any hindrance.
  2. Difficulty eating after an illness or injury- By strengthening the muscles in and around the mouth with swallowing therapy, patients relearn swallowing coordination. Effective speech and language therapy teaches the patients to reduce the aspiration risk in these cases.
  3. Feeding problems in infants or children- Feeding disorders are common in babies and toddlers. They avoid certain foods, vomit after eating, gag during meals, and fuss over the food. A leading speech therapist in Chennai will be able to teach sipping, chewing, swallowing, overcoming sensory aversions, and learning to eat meals independently. This is called feeding therapy.
  4. Delayed speech development- If a child has not met the speech milestones at an appropriate age, speech-language pathologists will be able to evaluate and help them with the appropriate speech and language therapy.

Job Responsibilities of SLPs

A skilled speech-language therapist must be resourceful, caring, and capable of developing personalized plans to meet patient needs. Apart from providing excellent speech and language therapy, they need to be good and friendly with clients under all circumstances. The primary responsibilities of SLPs include:

  1. Perform screening operations to diagnose and detect speech-related problems.
  2. Treat language, swallowing, and speech disorders.
  3. Design customized treatment plans and schedules to meet the patient's unique needs.
  4. Help patients by developing their communication and speech skills.
  5. Educate and train the patient's caregiver to contribute more to home practices.

An Insight Into Speech & Language Therapy Techniques Used by SLPs

The different types of speech therapy techniques provided by SLPs are:

  1. Articulation therapy- This speech and language therapy encourages the patient to produce noises and sounds which helps them to speak properly.
  2. Oral motor therapy- This technique strengthens the muscles in and around the mouth with simple procedures like massaging. It is ideal for patients who have faced an injury and lost the ability to speak.
  3. Language intervention therapy- This therapy is mainly for kids who have speech delays and have difficulty reaching their speech milestones.
  4. VitalStim therapy- Patients who have recovered from stroke or any other accident and facing difficulty swallowing are the right people to take up this therapy. This therapy is utilized in most of the reputed speech therapy centers in Chennai as it helps in regaining control over swallowing, eating, and talking.

An Overview of Speech Disorders Treated by SLPs Through Effective Speech and Language Therapy

Speech-language pathologists treat people of all age groups, from toddlers to elderly adults. They are trained to help resolve speech, language, and other related problems.

Speech Disorders

  1. Fluency- It refers to how the syllables, sounds, phrases, and words flow together during speaking. Fluency disorders include stuttering and cluttering problems.
  2. Voice- Hoarseness is the major voice difficulty faced by patients. The causes of voice problems are polyps or nodules on vocal folds and when people frequently communicate in an abnormal pitch.
  3. Articulation- An articulation problem is when a person substitutes one sound with another, which causes a distinctive speech. SLPs treat these patients with effective speech and language therapy and help them lead a normal social life.

Language Problems

SLPs treat language problems like:

  1. Aphasia- When people are affected by head trauma or stroke, they cannot understand or communicate due to the damaged areas in the brain. SLPs are responsible for treating them with good speech and language therapy.
  2. Language-based learning disabilities- People with neurological problems find it challenging to reason, listen, speak, write, and read.
  3. Pragmatics- Patients with difficulties in understanding social cues fall under this category. They won't be able to follow the basic communication rules like turn-taking while socializing and many more.

Related Issues

The problems like swallowing and hearing loss are treated by speech and language therapy with the support of audiologists and gastroenterologists. Swallowing problems are called dysphagia, and patients experience drastic weight loss due to poor nutrition and must be treated at the earliest. SLPs in renowned speech therapy centers of Chennai help patients with hearing loss learn lip-reading skills, which allows them to communicate better.

The Takeaway
As communication is a basic necessity for everyone, speech-language pathologists are one of the most caring professionals we should be thankful for. They put our lives back on track with the right techniques and methods. JOGO's clinic provides the best digital therapeutics solution in speech therapy with the latest technological advancements like no other center in Chennai.

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