What Is An SLP?

What does SLP stand for?

    • Speech-Language Pathologist

  • What level of education do SLPs have?

    • SLPs have a Masters Degree along with a state licensure where they practice

    • SLPAs (Speech-Language Pathologist Assistant) have an associate’s degree

  • What do SLPs do?  Evaluate and Treat the following:

    • Speech Sounds

      • Articulation: motor production of speech sounds.  For example, a child with an articulation delay or disorder may produce ‘Tire’ as ‘Tie-uh.’  Other motor speech disorders may include apraxia of speech or dysarthria.

      • Phonology: use of speech sound patterns.  For example, a child with a phonological disorder may use front sounds for back sounds by producing ‘Car’ as ‘Tar.’ Misuse of sound patterns can significantly impact the meaning of their speech.

    • Expressive and/or Receptive Language: syntax, vocabulary, producing sentences, following directions, and understanding language.  An adult with difficulty in these areas may have Aphasia.

      • Literacy: people with speech and language disorders may also have difficulty with reading, writing and spelling.

      • AAC: Augmentative Alternative Communication. Involves using other ways to communicate besides verbal output such as: sign language, picture systems, or an app on a Speech Generating Device such as an iPad.

    • Fluency: or stuttering.  This occurs when someone either repeats a sound/word/phrase, prolongates a sound/word, or blocks a sound/word.  Fluency can involve secondary behaviors such as head jerking.  These difficulties can create a significant emotional impact if stuttering starts or continues into adolescence and adulthood.

    • Pragmatics/Social Communication: how well we follow social rules, problem solve, engage with others in a conversation, use and interpret body language and facial expressions, and use appropriate voice intonation.

    • Voice: quality, volume, and pitch of our voice.  A desire to improve or change our voice can be impacted by a variety of factors such as vocal abuse (over use, yelling, smoking), disorders such as dysphonia, vocal polyps or nodules, accent modification, or gender transition.

    • Cognitive Communication: how well our minds work.  Problems may involve memory, attention, problem solving, organizing and other thinking skills.

    • Feeding and Swallowing: how well we chew, suck and/or swallow food. There can also be a sensory aversion component that can impact feeding. Swallowing disorders may also be referred to as dysphasia.

    How do I know if my child needs to be seen by an SLP?

    • If you or someone you know is having difficulty with the above skills, you can discuss these with your doctor to receive a referral to an SLP.

    • You can refer to this website: https://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/chart/ to see if your child ages birth to 5 is meeting the necessary speech and language developmental milestones and discuss any concerns with your doctor to receive a referral.

    Who do SLPs work with?

    • Newborn through the geriatric population.

    • People who can have a variety of diagnoses such as: Autism, Down Syndrome, developmental delays, ADHD, Traumatic Brain Injury, stroke, etc.

    Where do SLPs work?

    • Private Clinics

    • Schools

    • Hospitals

    • Rehabilitation centers or long term care facilities

    • Colleges and Universities

    • Remotely via Teletherapy




Written by: Karissa Rutten MS, CCC-SLP


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