A Speech Pathologist will frequently ask families to arrange a hearing test to confirm the client’s hearing status. They will work together with an audiologist and a client’s family to assess the impact of a hearing loss on the individual’s learning and lifestyle. They are able to work together with Teachers of the Deaf and regular classroom teachers to recommend appropriate intervention for individual students.
Interpersonal skills are basically the skills needed to get along with others (E.g. family, friends, work colleagues, acquaintances). These skills go far beyond just “social niceties” such as being polite and civil. Interpersonal communication skills include the ability to greet, join in an activity, begin and continue a conversation, resolve conflict effectively (negotiate, compromise, etc.), read social cues, be collaborative and work cooperatively with others.
People may have difficulty with receptive language skills, such as learning concepts, following instructions, or understanding questions. Expressive language difficulties may result in limited vocabulary, short simple sentences, poor grammar or word-finding problems. Often these difficulties occur together, affecting the person’s ability to make the most of learning experiences and participate in conversations.
Feeding and Swallowing
Speech Pathologists usually work as part of a multidisciplinary team when managing feeding or swallowing problems. Their role includes assessment of the process of eating, muscles used and diet. Intervention may include recommendation of strategies, modified diet and equipment to maximise safe eating and maintaining adequate nutrition and hydration.
Literacy skills are the written forms of language – reading, writing and spelling – and develop from a foundation of oral language skills. Literacy skills are made up of phonological (sound) awareness, print knowledge, reading (including comprehension), writing and spelling.
Speech sound problems in children may result from physical causes, such as cerebral palsy, cleft palate, dental problems or hearing loss. However, most children’s speech sound problems occur without any obvious physical disability or known cause. Adult speech sound problems may carry over from childhood. However, those that are acquired in adulthood usually have some type of neurological cause, such as head injury, stroke, Motor Neuron Disease, Parkinson’s Disease or Huntington’s Disease.
A Speech Pathologist is trained to deal with people of all ages who stutter. Stuttering in children can be very effectively treated, particularly in the early preschool years, i.e. before the age of 6 years. Successful treatment programs are also available for adolescents and adults who wish to improve their speech fluency and their confidence in speaking.
A Speech Pathologist will assess and provide specialised voice therapy by teaching an improved voice production technique, recommending some modifications to a person’s environment and referring the patient for medical diagnosis when necessary.