Kim, a Speech Therapist and Clinical Specialist, helps stroke patients learn how to talk, swallow, and breathe again properly. In high school she was inspired by a Career Day talk from an Occupational Therapist, and she decided to follow a similar career path, helping people get better.
Speech-language pathologists diagnose and treat communication and swallowing disorders in patients.
Speech-language pathologists work with patients who have problems with speech, such as being unable to speak at all or speaking with difficulty, or with rhythm and fluency, such as stuttering. They may work with those who are unable to understand language or with people who have voice disorders, such as inappropriate pitch or a harsh voice.
Speech-language pathologists must also do various administrative tasks, including keeping good records. They record their initial patient evaluations and diagnoses, treatment progress, any changes in a patient’s condition or treatment plan, and, eventually, their final evaluation when the patient finishes the therapy.
Some speech-language pathologists specialize in working with specific age groups, such as children or the elderly. Others focus on treatment programs for specific communication or swallowing problems, such as those resulting from strokes or cleft palate.
Speech-language pathologists can earn the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) offered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Certification satisfies some or all of the requirements for licensure and may be required by some employers. Speech-language pathologists must be licensed in almost all states.
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