What is Speech-Language Pathology?

What is Speech Language Pathology

Have you ever wondered what exactly a speech-language pathologist does? The scope of practice for an SLP is quite extensive. SLPs work with all ages, from infants to adults, on a wide range of communication skills as well as feeding and swallowing. They also work in a variety of settings, such as schools, hospitals, private practice, and skilled nursing facilities. 

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month. Did you know SLPs treat all of these areas? Feel free to share this to help others better understand the roles of SLPs!

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This is how we produce sounds and put them together. This includes the articulation of sounds (individual sound production), phonological disorders (sound patterns), apraxia, and dysarthria.


Language disorders are when a person either has difficulty expressing themselves or understanding language. This includes a wide variety of expressive and receptive communication – grammar, morphology, syntax, semantics, vocabulary, following directions, and expressing emotions. This includes both spoken and written language.


Voice disorders are anatomical or functional issues with your voicebox. Examples of this can be hoarseness, breathiness, nasality, polyps, or losing your voice easily.


Fluency is how well speech flows. Someone who stutters may have repetitions, blocks, or prolongations of sounds or words.


SLPs work on reading, writing, and spelling.


Pragmatics is how we interact with others – verbally and nonverbally. For example, greetings, holding conversations, understanding appropriate versus inappropriate behaviors, body language, asking questions, and social protocols.


Cognitive-communication disorders revolve around the brain: memory, executive function, attention, organization, problem-solving. This can be congenital or from a stroke, dementia, or traumatic brain injury.


Swallowing disorders are called dysphagia. SLPs treat those who have trouble chewing, swallowing, and sucking foods and liquids.


SLPs work with those who want to communicate more effectively by changing their speech sounds.

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You may be interested in Speech-Language and Hearing Facts 

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One Response

  1. I think it’s cool how you speech-language pathologists help people with articulating sounds. My nephew has a hard time mimicking his parents and making the right sounds. I’ll talk to them about getting professional help with their sounds speech so he can speak normally when he is older.

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