Article Written By: Melissa Gagnon, Owner and Speech-Language Pathologist
When asked “What do you do?”, I often respond with “I am a Speech-Language Pathologist, are you familiar with what Speech-Language Pathologists do?” The response is usually one of these statements or some variation of the sort.
- “You get to play games for work”- While this statement is true, we use games in our therapy sessions, it is not as simple as that! We search for games that can be used to teach language, concepts, speech sounds, literacy skills and more. We modify games to work on individual goals and/or we develop games that target specific skills.
- “You work on stuttering”- Once again, this is true! However, this is only one area we work on. We also see children with motor speech disorders, articulation disorders, voice disorders, and more! There are so many other areas of speech that we are trained to assess and treat!
- “You help kids talk”- Yes, we do help children talk, but we do this by teaching parents strategies that they can use at home with their children! Parents are with their children 90% of the time and we only see a child for 30-60 minutes a week. Training parents is the best way to help children reach their goals!
The month of May is Better Speech and Hearing month- a month where we bring awareness to our profession! The field of Speech-Language Pathology has been around since the 1920's, but it is still not a well known field, in that many people have never even heard of the profession! Let's change that because Speech-Language Pathologists have a lot to offer!
So what does a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) really do? We are able to screen, assess, identify and treat speech, language, voice, fluency (stuttering), swallowing, and literacy problems for all age groups (https://www.sac-oac.ca/public/information-sheets)
From assessing young children who are not yet saying their first words, to treating adults who have suffered a stroke- our skills span across the ages.
(*Note: If you are looking for adult services, you can find the information here: www.engagerehab.com)
Most SLPs begin to specialize in one or more areas- some work for the Ontario Preschool Speech and Language initiative, some work for the school boards, some work for Hospitals or Rehabilitation Centers and some work in Private Practice. Being an SLP in private practice means that we can support ALL areas that your child needs support in through a family centered approach. Research informs us that there is often an overlaps in the areas of speech, language and literacy. Those children that present with a language delay at a young age, are more likely to present with literacy delays as they enter into school. So it is important to view the child as a whole and support them in all areas, so that they can be successful!
There is so much more I could share with you about our profession, like why it is so rewarding. Why it is essential. Why we are so passionate about early intervention. How our field overlaps with other health care professionals. But instead, I will leave you with a few facts to help bring awareness to the importance of our profession!
Did you know that... 1 in 10 Canadians has a speech, language, or hearing problem! That is a large percentage of individuals who would benefit from SLP services!
Here are some great fact sheets about our profession- help us spread awareness this month!
Fact sheets from: https://www.peispeechhearing.ca/admin/Editor/assets/speechhearingfactsheet.pdf