Speech-language pathologists, sometimes called speech therapists, assess, diagnose, treat, and help to prevent disorders related to speech, language, cognitive-communication, voice, swallowing, and fluency.
Speech therapists work with people who cannot produce speech sounds or cannot produce them clearly. Those with speech rhythm and fluency problems, such as stuttering; people with voice disorders, such as inappropriate pitch or harsh voice; those with problems understanding and producing language.
- Articulation: Articulation is the ability to use the speech mechanism in order to produce speech sounds appropriately. An articulation disorder is characterized by atypical production of speech sounds (distortions) that may interfere with a person’s intelligibility.
- Fluency: A disorder of fluency affects the flow of speaking characterized by atypical rate, rhythm, and repetitions in sounds, syllables, words and phrases. This may be accompanied by excessive tension and/or struggle behavior. Disorders of fluency include stuttering and cluttering.
- Voice: A disorder of voice is characterized by the abnormal production and/or absences of vocal quality, pitch, loudness, resonance, and/or duration, which is inappropriate for an individual’s age and/or sex.
The areas of specialty include:
- Apraxia (Problems in the motor programming of movement for speech)
- Dysarthria (Speech disorder occurring because of problems with the central or peripheral nervous system)
- Speech disorders related to head and neck cancer
- Aphasia (Problems understanding and expressing language related to brain injury)
- Dysphagia (Problems with swallowing disorders -Feeding and oral motor )