Speech Language Pathology 101

Ever wondered what Speech Language Pathology is all about? Keep reading to find out.

Our ability to communicate, whether written or oral, grants us the opportunity to express our thoughts, personality, and who we are with others. Having difficulty communicating through language can be frustrating and have an impact on a person’s life in a number of ways. That’s where speech and language pathologists come in – their whole purpose is to help patients overcome their difficulties with communicating.

Speech language pathologists (S-LPs) are specialists in human communication. They’re experts in normal language development and disorders, and can assess and treat speech, language, voice, fluency, cognitive and other related communication disorders and swallowing difficulties. S-LPs can provide services to overcome and prevent communication problems and have the expertise to provide services in a wide variety of areas, including the ability to diagnose and treat feeding and swallowing disorders in both children and adults. (SASLPA)

What Do Speech-Language Pathologists Do?

S-LPs assist with problems relating to speech or written communications. Beyond just verbal communication, they help patients with memory impairments, cognitive-communication disorders, and even social skills. People need these to properly communicate and interact with others in everyday life.

First, an S-LP will assess and diagnose patients with speech impairments. Once they figure out the reason, then they begin to develop a treatment plan. Also known as speech/language therapy, S-LPs use a variety of methods and activities to best assist their patients.

Since communication is vital in everyday life, you can find S-LPs in several settings. From hospitals to schools, they help people of all ages and all walks of life.

Typical Reasons to Visit a Speech-Language Pathologist

While many S-LPs work with children, they also play a huge role in assisting adults as well. From the list below, you can tell there is a wide range of fields that S-LPs cover.

  • Expressive disorder: When someone struggles to properly form sentences, such as misplacing words or using incorrect verb tenses.
  • Fluency problems: When an individual struggles with the flow and rhythm of a sentence. Stuttering, for example, is a common fluency problem.
  • Social communication problems: Individuals with this have trouble understanding social communication cues such as taking turns when speaking or the appropriate distance when speaking to someone.
  • Cognitive-communication Disorder: Happens as a result of injury or delays in brain development. People with this disorder struggle with daily communication due to troubles with speaking or memory loss.
  • Swallowing and feeding disorders
  • Communication and swallowing disorders related to other issues: For example, hearing impairments, traumatic brain injury, dementia, developmental, intellectual or genetic disorders and neurological impairments.


What to Expect During Speech/Language Therapy

S-LPs combine their knowledge of linguistics, physiology, neurology, and psychology to develop methods that would best treat an individual depending on their needs.

More than their condition, S-LPs tailor speech therapy according to a patient’s age as well. For example, a speech pathologist working with children will incorporate engaging activities with picture books, fun pronunciation games, etc.

When working with adults with diseases or recovering from accidents, they may use practices that induce better memory and conversational tactics.

The Benefits of Speech Therapy

S-LPs ultimately help patients form better speech and language patterns so that they can communicate independently. Another amazing thing that comes out of speech therapy. Individuals become more confident in themselves and their capabilities. Just make sure to find a speech pathologist that you feel comfortable and safe with!

Keep in mind that speech therapy is a long process. It requires months, possibly years of consistent practice and therapy sessions, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. Eventually, the time and energy you invest will all be worth it once you witness the progress.

If you, your partner, or your child may benefit from visiting a Speech Language Pathologist, there are many resources available to you. You can learn more about services for adults and children via the Saskatchewan Health Authority here.

Did you know that Saskatchewan Blue Cross Personal Health Plans include coverage for Speech Language Pathologists? Learn more about our plans here, or apply here.