Speech is integral to communication, the primary tool of personal communication, and one of the most basic of functions required of human beings. A certified speech language pathologist / therapist detects disorders impairing speech, language, meaningful and sensible communication, and even problems with voice, swallowing and fluency, evaluating them appropriately. The speech language pathologist works with:
o people who can not produce legitimate speech sounds, individuals suffering from stuttering and other speech rhythm and fluency problems, and those with voice disorders including inappropriate pitch and harsh voice.
o those experiencing problems with understanding and producing language, and individuals seeking to improve their communication skills by modifying their accent.
o deeper physical problems such as cognitive communication problems that affect the individual's capacity for attention, memorizing and solving problems.
Speech language pathologists are either employed full-time by schools or hospitals, or put up a private practice and work on a contract basis in hospitals and schools.
Job opportunities for speech language pathologists are set to grow as fast as the average for all occupations (around 11%) for the next ten years. The reasons for the projected growth are many.
o There is a growing number of aging individuals of the baby boomer generation with the possibility of various disorders involving with age, including speech, language and swallowing impairments.
o The survival rate of premature infants as well as trauma and stroke victims continues to rise with advances in medical technology.
o Elementary and secondary school enrollments will include among them students requiring special education and treatment in speech and language disorders, especially since the law guarantees special education to those who need.
o Greater emphasis is being placed now on the early identification and treatment of speech and language disorders.
The importance of early detection of speech and language disorders highlights the significance of the role of the speech language pathologist in the growth of an affected individual, as he seeks to break the shackles.