Dec. 6, 2019, 5:27 a.m.

A Common Misconception Is That A Speech & Language Pathologist Only Teaches Children How To Say Sounds Correctly

Most children say their first few words between 10-14 months of age. Parents might consider consulting a Speech & Language Pathologist if they feel their child hasn’t achieved the typical milestones of speech and language.  A lot of times, parents go with the assumption that the role of a Speech & Language Pathologist or Therapist (SLT) is to teach people how to speak or say sounds correctly. 

However, this assumption might only be partially true. There are multiple things that an SLT does to observe, evaluate, diagnose and create a treatment plan for children with speech and language difficulties. 
 
Speech & Language Therapists usually work with children who have difficulties such as: ASD, ADHD, Learning disabilities, stammer, language disorder, speech disorders and SEMH (Social, Emotional and mental health disorder) and swallowing disorders. 
 
Often speech and language is just one of the difficulties that children have along with others. So, an SLT works in a multidisciplinary team. They work with Physiotherapists, Special Educators, Nutritionists, Occupational Therapists, psychologists and so on. This is because all these therapies together provide various opportunities and reason to support communication development. 
 
The fact is, that an SLT cannot “teach” an individual how to speak but rather supports the fundamentals of communication (outlined in the pyramid below) : 

                                                                                                         Speech
                                                                                             Expressive Language
                                                                                                   Understanding
                                                                                           Play & Interaction Skills
                                                                                         Attention & Listening Skills

Communication is more than just talking. It can be any way of expressing what one wants to express (i.e. using gestures, body language, eye contact etc.) The pyramid above gives us an idea as to what an SLT may work on during therapy (in the same order). This is to build stable foundations to progress to the next level.