A speech-language pathologist (SLP) is a highly-trained professional who evaluates and treats children and adults who have difficulty with speech or language. Although people often think of speech and language as the same thing, the terms actually have very different meanings. If your child has trouble with speech, he/ she struggles with the “how-to” of talking—the coordination of the muscles and movements necessary to produce speech. If your child has trouble with language, he/she struggles with understanding what he/she hears or sees. Your child may struggle to find the right words and/or organize those words in a meaningful way to communicate a message or hold a conversation.
An SLP also evaluates and treats children and adults who have difficulty swallowing food or liquid. An SLP will help identify what part of the swallowing process is making it difficult for your child to eat (e.g., chewing, manipulating food with the tongue, coordinating mouth and throat structures and muscles, breathing appropriately while eating).
What Do SLPs Treat?
- Articulation – the way we say our speech sounds
- Phonology – the speech patterns we use
- Apraxia – difficulty planning and coordinating the movements needed to make speech sounds
- Fluency – stuttering
- Voice – problems with the way the voice sounds, such as hoarseness
- Receptive Language – difficulty understanding language
- Expressive Language – difficulty using language
- Pragmatic Language – social communication; the way we speak to each other
- Deafness/Hearing Loss – loss of hearing; therapy includes developing lip-reading, speech, and/or alternative communication systems
- Oral-Motor Disorders – weak tongue and/or lip muscles
- Swallowing/Feeding Disorders – difficulty chewing and/or swallowing
Language Milestone Chart
The course of children’s development is mapped using a chart of developmental milestones.
See milestones by age on the LD OnLine website.
Vocal Hygiene is a daily regimen of good habits to maintain the health of your vocal folds. These include eliminating inappropriate vocal habits and situations that place unnecessary wear and tear on the voice and common sense behaviors which contribute to efficient voice production and overall vocal health.
See tips for keeping your voice healthy here.
Hearing loss is different in every person. Have your hearing tested to find out how you hear.
Learn more about hearing loss on the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website.