Monday myth: Speech-language pathologists only work with kids who mispronounce sounds

Nope. One of the primary misconceptions of the work a speech-language pathologist does comes form the first word in our professional title: “speech.” When many people think of speech, they often associate it with the way we pronounce words. Many then make the link to children that are learning to speak and the way they mispronounce speech sounds when doing so.

It totally makes sense that we would be the people to help reduce or eliminate pronunciation errors. But this is only a small part of the professional scope of SLP practice. To keep things short, let’s look specifically at the kind of work SLPs do with children. We do so much for adults, as well, but that will be for another article.

SLPs are key members of assessment and therapy teams in a lot of settings, working with kids that are just born to those about to finish high school. We work with kids having difficulties feeding/swallowing, speaking, understanding language, and engaging socially. We are trained in how the brain does these things, what happens when things aren’t going as they should and why, and the ways to prevent problems or make things better.

The specific work we do varies with the kinds of kids and families we see. It could be a newborn with a cleft palate. It could be an infant who doesn’t respond much when talked to. It could be a toddler who doesn’t have a first word yet. It could be a kindergartener who isn’t picking up sounds and letters like other kids. It could be an elementary school student who looks like he’s being disobedient but really just doesn’t understand what he’s being asked to do. It could be the high schooler who stutters.

We are a large part of almost every health care team working with kids. We visit homes, day cares, schools. We work privately (like me!), at hospitals, at school boards, at child development centres (TVCC), and children’s mental health centres (CPRI). We’re everywhere!

SLPs can help with much more than how your child pronounces sounds. If you are concerned about your child’s development, behaviour, or school performance, don’t “wait & see” or wait months on a wait list. Contact Elgin Speech & Language Services today.

talkingYou may think: what does feeding/swallowing have to do with speech and language? Well, we are specifically trained in the neurology, anatomy, and physiology of the head and neck, and all of these are involved with how we eat and safely swallow our food and drink. Aside from ENTs, we are the professionals best trained to assess and provide recommendations for these problems. In fact, doctors refer to the SLP for dealing with these issues.



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Ontario Speech & Language Services