What does a Speech-Language Pathologist do?

Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP) work with both children, teens and adults, but I’m going to focus on the pediatric side since that’s our population at Carolina Pediatric Therapy. Communication Disorders can be broken down into four general areas. Let’s take a look:


Speech related disorders can be related to any of the following:

Articulation/Phonology – these two disorders focus on a child’s sound system. Either they have difficulty with the actual placement in their mouths for sounds (Articulation) or they are using the wrong rules for how to produce sounds (Phonology) Apraxia – this disorder focuses on sound production also, but is more based on how the child has difficulty ‘planning’ for the sounds. Many times the child has unpredictable sound errors. Fluency – this is related to the ‘melody’ of speech and is often most associated with Stuttering. Voice – this refers to the quality of the voice. If a person consistently sounds raspy, hoarse, or has no voice, those are all characteristics of someone who might have a voice disorder. Resonance – this is associated with how air travels when using speech sounds. Air travels through the nose or the mouth, depending on the type of sound one is making. In a typical way, when someone has a cold as sounds ‘stuffy’, there is a change in his/her resonance.


Receptive – how we understand the words and language around us. For example, it’s how our minds organize different questions, learn new vocabulary, categorize information, and follow directions (just to name a few). Expressive – how we use the words and language we have. For example, how we communicate our wants, needs, thoughts, and ideas. Social – how we use language to communicate with others around us in a successful way. We ‘predict’ how other people might respond, read their nonverbal communication, and adjust our behavior to fit the expectations or needs of the world around us.

ALSO READ: Keys of Social Communication: Nonverbal


Feeding – Speech-Language Pathologists are trained to work with children and adults who have difficulty eating foods, whether from motor problems with chewing or sensory issues related to textures. Swallowing – With some children and adults there is difficulty with the actual swallow of food and drink, which requires specialized training and skill to treat. This type of therapy can be given to premature infants all the way up to elderly adults who have dementia. Cognitive Language – Surprisingly, SLPs may also be qualified to treat “Thinking” or Executive Functioning Skills. These are complex skills related to memory, problem-solving, attention, emotional control, language processing, and organization of thought.

The skill set for Speech-Language Pathologists is pretty broad and encompasses many needs within the Communication Disorders umbrella. If you are trying to figure out if a speech-language pathologist is qualified to serve your child, give us a call we’d love to help. 

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Call (828) 398 0043 or click on the schedule button.

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