Thespeechmom is on vacation this week. It is blissful. Well, as blissful as being stag on a vacation with a one and two year old. So kinda blissful, kinda chaos.
Why do I need a vacation? We all need a vacation. It is such a rare occasion for me to take time off that isn’t due to my children torturing me with illness. But really. People often ask me “What does a speech-language pathologist do?” So I am going to tell you what we do. And then you’re gonna say, “Yeah, take a vacation lady.”
I love lists…so naturally I am going to bullet point this….
– Speech. Easy. Your kid says “weaf” instead of “leaf?” “Tar” instead of “car.” We fix that. Okay, so not always so easy. Some kiddos have really severe speech disorders. But we can fix that too.
– Language….I don’t even know where to start with this. I am going to break it down.
– Language development. This is the little stinkers that are late talkers. You know, the two year old who just says a handful of words. This is tied with feeding for my favorite thing to do.
– Expressive language. These are the kiddos who talk but maybe don’t make a ton of sense or have a hard time explaining themselves. The ones who cannot quite explain how something happened or can’t quite figure out “is” vs “are” or where to make things plural.
– Receptive language. This is a tricky one. Most of the time receptive and expressive language go together but not all the time. Receptive language is understanding stories, following directions, comprehension of conversation, and pretty much what people call “listening.”
– Rehab. People who have traumatic brain injuries or strokes often have issues with language skills as they start to recover. There is a pretty wide range of language problems we treat in these areas.
– Social Skills. Social skills can range from kiddos who are just a little “off” when it comes to talking and playing with peers all the way to kiddos who cannot figure out the basics, like turn taking and eye contact.
– Fluency. I am not a huge fan of working on stuttering. Not my cup of tea but I will do it. You live in the area and need help with this one? Call my boss, he loves it.
– Feeding. Not every SLP does this one. It is kind of a specialty area. It is mine. Kids who are picky eaters. Kids who have feeding tubes. Kids who have sensory issues. Kids who are failure to thrive or gain. Call me, message me, email me, Facebook me. Let’s talk about feeding. I love it.
– Oral motor. This kind of goes with feeding and kind of goes with speech. It is essentially weakness of the mouth, i.e. kiddos that have weak muscles that are used to talk and eat.
– Swallowing. Leave this one to swallowing specialists. There is a difference between people who have swallowing issues and feeding issues. Swallowing is when things aren’t closing, coordinating, and flexing just perfectly and food is “going down the wrong pipe.” I am being very nonscientific here, but this is thespeechmom blog, not UNI’s Swallowing Graduate course, so lay off.
– Voice. This is another one not all SLPs love, so before you bring yourself or your kid to an SLP for voice, make sure they know what they are doing. Voice is when people sound hoarse, have a chronic cough throat clearing issue, or have issues with breath support.
– Accent reduction. Got an accent that makes you tricky to understand? An SLP can help with that.
– Literacy. Whether it be development of basic literacy skills, such as rhyming, letter identification, or sound recognition we can work on that. We also work with kiddos that are struggling to read later in life or may have dyslexia.
– Education. This is the most important part of being an SLP in my opinion. We don’t just educate parents of kiddos with delays and disorders, but also parents of typically developing little ones. So if you have questions about any of the above, find an SLP and ask. Most SLPs are really easy to talk to. It’s kind of necessary to be a social butterfly if you are an SLP.
So there it is. That is what an SLP does. And we do it all through play. I am going to go back to my vacation now….maybe first I will email this to my boss and ask for a raise.