One fundamental aspect of human development and interaction is communication. The way we speak shapes our personal and professional lives and opens opportunities otherwise hindered by poor expression.
For some of us who are challenged by development delays, language disorders, personal conditions, or neurological conditions a speech pathologist can play a crucial role in assessing, treating, and finally overcoming language expression setbacks. Speech pathologists in Australia and around the world, work with clients to help them achieve their best potential delivery in communication.
What is a speech pathologist?
A speech pathologist is a specialized professional who assesses, diagnoses, and treats language disorders helping individuals achieve their potential in clear spoken language. The primary goal of an SPL, or speech-language pathologist is to enhance our ability to communicate effectively in both verbal and non-verbal ways. Working with people of all ages, from infants to the elderly, a speech-language pathologist addresses a range of communication challenges. Speech pathologists may also work with second language learners to improve their pronunciation.
Speech pathologists begin by evaluating our language, voice, fluency, and overall communication skills. They identify abnormalities in language and communication disorders and attempt to determine the underlying causes. At this stage, a personalized treatment plan can be implemented. This plan may include vocal exercises, techniques, language games such as tongue twisters, and other strategies to improve communication skills.
Collaboration and Counselling
Speech pathologists will often collaborate with other healthcare professionals, educators, and family members to facilitate a holistic approach to communication development. They provide guidelines and counseling to both the individual and their families, educating them on new communication strategies that can be employed outside of the regular therapy sessions.
When to book a speech pathologist?
Here are some signs that it may be time to book an appointment with a speech pathologist.
Difficulty in Speech Development. If a child is significantly behind in speech development milestones for their age, or finding it difficult to be understood by others, it may be time to consult a speech pathologist.
Language Delay and Stuttering. If an individual, of any age, experiences disruptions in the natural flow of speech, stutters, or hesitates a language expert can help.
Voice Disorders / Neurological Conditions. Stroke, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, or dementia can all cause difficulties in communication.
Social Communication Difficulty. Some people struggle with understanding others and being understood. These are sometimes caused by personality, environmental, and often physical reasons, but whatever the cause, a speech pathologist will help break down the issues.
In conclusion, and if we are struggling with, or know of any individual who is struggling with language and communication issues it might be an idea to consult a professional. In Australia, it has been recommended by government health bodies that early intervention and appropriate treatment can make a significant difference in a person’s overall quality of life.