Speech-language pathologists are professionals concerned with evaluation, prevention, treatment, and research in human communication and its disorders. They work closely with teachers, physicians, psychologists, social workers, rehabilitation counselors and other members of an interdisciplinary team, yet they are autonomous and do not work under direct medical supervision. They work in a variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing care facilities, industry, government health facilities, research laboratories and private practice.

Students use VisiPitch, a program that provides biofeedback of speech and voice parameters

Speech-language pathologists design and carry out comprehensive treatment plans to:

  • Help individuals learn correct production of speech sounds.
  • Assist with developing proper control of the vocal and respiratory systems or correct voice production.
  • Assist children and adolescents with language problems such as understanding and giving directions, answering and asking questions, understanding and using syntax and semantics, using appropriate social languages and conveying ideas to others.
  • Help individuals who stutter to increase the amount of fluent speech and to cope with their disorders.
  • Assist individuals who have had strokes or suffered brain trauma to relearn language and speech skills.
  • Help individuals to use augmentative and assistive systems of communication.
  • Counsel individuals with speech and language disorders and their families or caregivers to understand their disorder and to communicate more effectively in educational, social and vocational settings.
  • Advise individuals and the community on how to prevent speech and language disorders.

Speech-language pathologists are involved in research activities that seek to increase knowledge of the normal processes of speech and language production; the etiology, symptomatology, and prognosis of various disorders, and efficacious methods for evaluation and treatment of disorders. Areas of specialization include disorders of developmental language, neurogenic speech and language, fluency, voice, articulation/phonology, swallowing, and alternative and augmentative communication.