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Health

Speech-Language Pathologist

What is a speech-language pathologist?

Speech-language pathologists specialize in assessing, diagnosing, and treating people with communication problems that result from disability, surgery, or developmental disorders. They are also instrumental in preventing disorders related to speech, language, cognitive communication, voice, and fluency. This includes both understanding speech and speaking problems. They also evaluate and treat people with swallowing disorders due to stroke, brain injury, or other nervous system impairments.

Speech-language pathologists often direct care related to:

  • Speech, language, and swallowing disorders

  • Speech fluency and stuttering disorders

  • Voice disorders

  • Augmentative communication devices

  • Written language disorders

  • Cognitive (thinking, memory, and learning) disorders

Speech-language pathologists may practice in a variety of settings, including:

  • Early intervention—head start and other early childhood development programs

  • Hospitals

  • Inpatient rehabilitation centers

  • Outpatient rehabilitation centers

  • Nursing homes

  • Home health settings

  • Schools

  • Telepractice

  • Private practice

Most speech-language pathologists hold a master's degree and a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology through the American Speech and Hearing Association.

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