What Is Speech-Language Pathology?
Speech-language pathologists provide services to address needs in all areas of communication. Children and youth may have disabilities that affect receptive or expressive language development, speech production, or pragmatic social communication. Many students receive special services under the category of “speech and language impairments” alone or in conjunction with other specialized services designated in their Individualized Education Program (IEP).
Speech and language services include the following:
- Identification of children with speech or language impairments.
- Diagnosis and appraisal of specific speech or language impairments.
- Referral for medical or other professional attention is necessary for the habilitation of speech or language impairments.
- Provision of speech and language services for the habilitation of communicative impairments.
- Counseling and guiding parents, children, and teachers regarding speech impairments.
Responsibilities of the speech-language pathologists working within the public schools include the following:
- Evaluate and provide speech/language therapy either as speech-only services or as a related service
- Assist in a variety of service delivery models
- Consult with teachers regarding student referrals and in-class therapy support
- Write evaluation reports, therapy notes, and collect data
- Provide technical support to staff for students with specific needs, such as assistive technology
- Attend RTI meetings when requested
- Provide therapy interventions via RTI initiatives as directed by problem-solving teams
- Attend school and department meetings
- Participate in staff development activities
- Perform other duties as directed by principals and supervisors
The Exceptional Learners Collaborative currently has ten Speech Language Pathologists on staff who support schools and programs throughout the consortium of member districts.
Speech-Language Pathology Delivery Areas
This list of practice areas and the bulleted examples are not comprehensive. Current areas of practice, such as literacy, have continued to evolve, whereas other new areas of practice are emerging. Please refer to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) Practice Portal for a more extensive list of practice areas.
- Cluttering Scope of Practice in Speech-Language Pathology © Copyright 2016 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. All rights reserved.
- Speech Production
- Motor planning and execution
- Language—Spoken and written language (listening, processing, speaking, reading, writing, pragmatics)
- Pragmatics (language use and social aspects of communication)
- Prelinguistic communication (e.g., joint attention, intentionality, communicative signaling)
- Paralinguistic communication (e.g., gestures, signs, body language)
- Literacy (reading, writing, spelling)
- Executive functioning
- Phonation quality
- Alaryngeal voice
- Cul-de-sac resonance
- Forward focus
- Feeding and Swallowing
- Oral phase
- Pharyngeal phase
- Esophageal phase
- Atypical eating (e.g., food selectivity/refusal, negative physiological response)
- Auditory Habilitation/Rehabilitation
- Speech, language, communication, and listening skills impacted by hearing loss, deafness
- Auditory processing