Speech-Language Pathologists

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Also known as:
Language Pathologist, Public School Speech Clinician, Public School Speech Therapist, Speech and Language Specialist, Speech Clinician, Speech Pathologist, Speech Therapist

Video transcript

Speech-language pathologist and audiologist are two different yet closely related professions. Speech-language pathologists work with people who are unable to make speech sounds, who stutter, or who simply cannot understand the spoken language. Causes for such disabilities include strokes, brain injuries, and mental retardation. Audiologists, on the other hand, help people with hearing problems.

Often they use "audiometers" to test children in elementary schools. When problems are found, these specialists work with other professionals to develop a course of treatment, which may include fitting a hearing aid, teaching lip reading, or simply making sure that the ear canal is not blocked.

Although these are two distinct professions, speech-language pathologists and audiologists must be familiar with both speech and hearing, since both fields are related to one another. They also often share similar personal characteristics as well.

Since individuals who have difficulty hearing or trouble speaking can feel frustrated and cut off, both speech pathologists and audiologists must be able to deal with that frustration and resentment. And both specialists must be able to encourage their patients to do their best.

This work can be demanding, but it can also offer incredible rewards. Few things are more satisfying than seeing the light in the eyes of a child who can suddenly hear for the first time. This is one of the savored moments of speech-language pathologists and audiologists.

Assess and treat persons with speech, language, voice, and fluency disorders. May select alternative communication systems and teach their use. May perform research related to speech and language problems.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
Physical demands
Daily tasks

Consult with and refer clients to additional medical or educational services.

Consult with and advise educators or medical staff on speech or hearing topics, such as communication strategies or speech and language stimulation.

Use computer applications to identify or assist with communication disabilities.

Conduct lessons or direct educational or therapeutic games to assist teachers dealing with speech problems.

Participate in conferences, training, continuing education courses, or publish research results to share knowledge of new hearing or speech disorder treatment methods or technologies.

Communicate with non-speaking students, using sign language or computer technology.

Administer hearing or speech and language evaluations, tests, or examinations to patients to collect information on type and degree of impairments, using written or oral tests or special instruments.

Instruct clients in techniques for more effective communication, such as sign language, lip reading, or voice improvement.

Develop speech exercise programs to reduce disabilities.

Teach clients to control or strengthen tongue, jaw, face muscles, or breathing mechanisms.

Design, develop, or employ alternative diagnostic or communication devices or strategies.

Developing Objectives and Strategies Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Therapy and Counseling Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
Medicine and Dentistry Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Learning Strategies Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.