Speech – Language Pathology

The practice of speech-language pathology is the assessment of speech and language functions and the treatment and prevention of speech and language dysfunctions or disorders to develop, maintain, rehabilitate or augment oral motor or communicative functions.

Speech-Language Pathologists (sometimes informally referred to as speech therapists) are able to identify, assess and treat adults and children with communication disorders. Speech-Language Pathologists can also help individuals with swallowing disorders. Speech-Language Pathologists working at the Child Development Centre work closely with other professionals on teams that may include pediatricians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, and social workers.

Speech-Language Pathologists aim to help children communicate. They can assess both speech (the sounds that the child uses) and language (what the child understands, and also what words he/she is using). Evaluation can include observing the child during play, discussion with the child’s caregivers, and formal testing. Observing the child during play provides the Speech-Language Pathologist with some insight into the child’s play and social skills. Following the assessment, Speech-Language Pathologists counsel parents and work closely with the child’s family to develop a treatment plan that is aimed at fostering the child’s communication development and helping find strategies that parents can use at home with their child.

In some cases, Speech-Language Pathologists may recommend the child use a picture system or other communication device to express his or her needs and wants (Augmentative/Alternative Communication).