Health Care Providers: Speech Therapists
What Is Speech Therapy?
Speech-language therapy (also called speech-language pathology) is therapy that helps people with speech and language problems.
What Is a Speech Therapist?
Speech-language pathologists — also called speech therapists — are licensed professionals who diagnose and treat problems with speech and communication. Speech therapists can work in schools, hospitals, or specialty clinics.
Why Would Someone Need One?
Speech therapists help kids who have trouble communicating. This can be due to many different problems, including:
- auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder
- cleft lip and palate
- childhood apraxia of speech and other articulation disorders
- expressive language disorders (limited vocabulary, trouble putting words together, etc.)
- feeding and swallowing problems
- resonance or voice problems (problems with voice pitch, volume, etc.)
- speech and language delays
- hearing loss
- receptive language disorders (trouble understanding or processing language)
Speech therapists provide services such as:
- augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) (help for children who need other ways to communicate)
- development of oral feeding skills (for kids with feeding/swallowing problems)
- parental involvement in therapy (through at-home activities)
- sign language education
What Is Their Training?
Speech therapists have training that includes:
- 4 years at a college or university to earn a bachelor’s degree (typically in communication sciences and disorders)
- a master’s degree in speech-language pathology from a program in speech-language therapy
- more than 1,500 hours of clinical experience in the field to earn a state-level speech pathology certification
Good to Know
Speech-language therapy also can help kids who have problems with reading. For example, it can help kids with dyslexia learn the different specific sounds in letters and words, which can improve reading comprehension skills and make reading more fun.