Speech pathologists evaluate, treat, and diagnose communication and speech disorders. They manage and prevent oral problems, cognitive-linguistic problems, swallowing, speech and all language disorders.

If you have problems with oral motor, cognitive, linguistic or language skills that have been affected by neurological events or diseases, have had head or neck cancer and injuries or problems related to underlying diseases, you will need the professional services of a speech therapist.

Additional problems related to speech and communications that are treated by speech pathologists include difficulties with pronunciation and fluency of speech, problems with voice value, and impaired communicative reasoning. Cognitive communication problems include memory, abstract reasoning problems, or problem-solving defects. These problems are related to strokes, brain injuries, and other medical disease processes.

If you have oropharyngeal weakness, which is a problem that causes aspiration of food and liquids into the airways, and respiratory complications, you will definitely need the services of a pathologist.

Responsibilities of a Speech Pathologist

To effectively treat and help people with speech and communication problems, a speech pathologist develops a personalized program for the patient. A plan of care may also include alternative nutrition based on aspiration risks, dietary level modifications to help with swallowing, as well as communion systems that help with speech.

These pathologists help families learn to deal with communication problems and participate in treatment. Caregivers are educated about the impairments, disease processes, and strategies to help and train patients with speech impairments. A pathologist will develop home programs that are unique and help maintain swallowing, cognitive-linguistic, speech, and language skills.

There are also pathologists who are involved in research programs to develop alternative ways to treat speech problems. Biological factoring is considered and drug therapies are investigated and scheduled. Some research specialists are also involved in the development of computer programs to facilitate speech implants and different types of devices and techniques to augment speech in those with speech disorders.

job prospects

Many pathologist positions are located in schools, including elementary schools and preschools, as well as select high schools, universities, and colleges. There are other openings in speech and language labs, those who are trained as audiologists and who work in hearing and language clinics, research laboratories, and home health agencies More than 88,000 speech jobs were posted in 2000. It is expected that grow as the population ages. Those who are in older age groups tend to be prone to medical conditions that can result in speech and communication problems. These include strokes, heart problems, dementia, and complications of Alzheimer’s disease. Medical advances are also improving the survival rate of infants, as well as of trauma and stroke victims who may have brain and cognitive disorders and injuries.

These aspiring pathologists enter the field to help people with communication problems. If you’re a speech pathologist or therapist, you can expect to have a median income of $54,750. Those pathologists with more experience or those working in laboratory ad research conditions have earning potential of up to $85,000 and more.

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