Below, you will find some helpful information about Speech Language Pathologists. Whether you are caring for a family member or for a friend, the following information should help you on your journey to supporting someone’s speech language treatment.
What is a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP)?
A specialist who evaluates and treats communication disorders [such as aphasia] and swallowing problems. A speech-language pathologist is sometimes called a speech therapist or speech pathologist.
Speech pathologists usually have an MA (Master of Arts), MS (Master of Sciences) or doctorate in their specialty, as well as a Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) earned by working under supervision. Some states in the US also require a state license. (Definition from MedicineNet.com)
So how can a Speech-Language Pathologist help my loved one or friend?
First, the speech pathologist (or SLP) will evaluate your loved one or friend so that they can diagnose your aphasia and determine where they need the most help with their speech and/or comprehension. Once they have been evaluated, the SLP will begin a course of speech therapy that is unique to your loved one’s aphasia.
There also SLPs (as well as other rehabilitation professionals, caregivers and persons with aphasia) that have started stroke, brain injury and/or aphasia community groups in their areas. These groups are great for additional support and in some cases offer additional speech therapy in the group setting for free or a much reduced cost. Click here to find a support group.
What is Speech Therapy?
The treatment of speech and communication disorders. The approach used depends on the disorder. It may include physical exercises to strengthen the muscles used in speech (oral-motor work), speech drills to improve clarity, or sound production practice to improve articulation. (MedicineNet.com)
It also important to remember that speech therapy does not improve your speech over-night. It takes a lot of hard work, patience and a strong support system of family and friends. Don’t give up!
Where can I find a Speech-Language Pathologist?
A good place to start is your local hospital or even a local college or university where they have a degree program for speech-language pathology (look for departments of Speech Pathology, Communication Sciences or Communication Disorders)
Another place to start is by contacting one of our Affiliates in your area. The NAA Affiliates are professionals, caregivers and persons with aphasia that have paid a small fee in order to be associated with the National Aphasia Association, and most importantly, help local persons with aphasia and their families locate resources. Click here to find an Affiliate near you!
You can also search for a speech-language pathologist near you on the American Speech-Language Hearing Association’s (ASHA) Click for ASHA’s website.
Another organization that you may contact is the Academy of Neurologic Communication Disorders & Sciences (ANCDS). The ANCDS is made up of speech-language pathologists who are board-certified in dealing with neurogenic communication disorders such as aphasia, dysarthria, apraxia and cognitive communication disorders associated with damage to the right side of the brain. Highly qualified practitioners who meet the organizations requirements may use “BC-ANCDS” after their names. Click for the ANCDS website. Tel: (952) 920-0196. Email: [email protected]
Good luck in your journey of caregiving and support for your loved one or family member.