Speech Pathologist is a specialist who treats and diagnoses patients suffering from voice disorders. Speech pathology is an area of medical practice practiced by a professional called a speech physician, a speech therapist or a speech and hearing specialist, all of whom might be referred to by the short term, speech pathologist. The primary focus of speech pathology is the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the voice and speech. Speech Pathology deals with assessing, diagnosing and treating disorders of the voice and speech of individuals. It also involves training individuals in the skills required to manage communication.

Speech Pathologist

Speech Pathologist jobs involve examining people with throat disorders such as adenoids, tonsillar lesions or hyoid bones. Other diseases they may diagnose include swallowing problems, asthma, chronic sinusitis, stroke, migraine, sleep apnea, chronic dry cough, irritable bowel syndrome, otitis externa and vocal cord spasms. Some speech pathologists work in children’s hospitals, while others serve in academic medical facilities. Some speech pathologists are involved in research or in teaching at various medical schools and colleges. They also occasionally teach or conduct seminars on the subject.

The primary duty of a speech pathologist is to assess and treat patients presenting with throat or speech disorders. The two basic areas of focus are Speech pathology or speech-language pathology and Audiology or hearing science. Within speech pathology, there are two subspecialties one is otolaryngological and the other is audiological. Speech pathologists who specialize in audiology make audiologists, also known as hearing specialists. They are responsible for evaluating patients with hearing loss and prescribing hearing aids, computers and other digital devices.

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Speech pathology is usually performed in children’s hospitals, where the doctors are called upon only when a child has a serious problem or when the speech becomes completely imbalanced. In some hospitals, speech pathologists are required to be present during procedures like tonsilloliths, adenoids, tonsillitis and wisdom teeth extraction. The young children may include infants and toddlers, school-aged children, adolescents and adults. A speech pathologist, therefore, sees a wide variety of patients and cases, depending on his or her area of specialization. Speech pathology, thus, forms a key component of general pediatrics.

Because speech-language pathologists spend a large part of their time in schools, colleges and rehabilitation centers, they are required to hold certification in order to work in these settings. Often, they rotate shifts and are on call to provide services when needed. To work in any healthcare setting, a speech-language pathologist must possess a high level of patience, compassion and interpersonal skills.

Speech pathology is not limited to pediatrics but extends to other areas as well. There are speech pathologists who specialize in disorders of the respiratory system such as asthma, COPD (combined obstructive pulmonary disorder) and pneumonia. They also provide services for individuals with developmental disabilities and children with intellectual disabilities. For example, if an infant develops autism, a speech pathologist might assess the child and look for any neurological issues that might be the cause of the disorder.

Specialized Training: A speech pathologist can obtain specialized training in various fields that allow him or her to become a specialist. For example, a pediatric specialist would acquire additional skills and knowledge in diagnosing and treating conditions in infants, children and adolescents. The speech pathologist might also specialize in disorders of the digestive system, or in disorders of the nervous system. He or she might also need to acquire additional skills in order to treat neurological disorders and the musculoskeletal system.

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Communication Skills: It is important for professionals in this profession to communicate effectively. Since most speech-language Pathologists have to communicate with others while they are working, it is crucial that they are good at verbal communication. This includes being able to communicate clearly about what is going on, identifying particular concerns and problems, and explaining medical terms and symptoms to patients. Overall, a speech-language pathologist must have excellent communication skills in order to effectively serve his or her patients.

By Colleen