Speech Pathologist

Summary

Speech pathologists diagnose, treat and provide management services to people of all ages with communication disorders, including speech, language, voice, fluency, social communication and literacy difficulties. They also work with people who have problems with chewing or swallowing.

Duties & Tasks

Speech pathologists may perform the following tasks:

  • establish the exact nature and severity of each client's communication and/or swallowing problems, which may require the use of special equipment and tests
  • plan and carry out treatment and management, taking into account age, social, educational and workplace needs, and physical and intellectual abilities
  • prescribe electronic and non-electronic alternatives, and communication aids and devices
  • work with children who are unable to communicate effectively due to intellectual disability, developmental delays, physical disability and/or learning difficulties
  • treat adults whose language, speech or voice has been affected by surgery, disease or disorders of the nervous system, brain injury, dementia or hearing loss
  • help children and adults to overcome stuttering
  • assess and treat children and adults who have difficulty chewing and/or swallowing
  • act as a consultant to education, medical, dental and other health professionals
  • provide ongoing support, advice and information to clients, families and other significant persons (such as friends, carers and educators) in order to support successful communication interactions and safe and effective mealtimes.

Working Conditions

Speech pathologists work closely with other health professionals as part of a team.

Personal Requirements

  • good listening and interpersonal skills
  • enjoy language and communication
  • able to inspire confidence and cooperation
  • enjoy working with people
  • a patient and tactful approach to people's problems
  • able to deal with complex and unusual situations.

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