So what does a paediatric Speech Pathologist actually do?
Well, definitely more than just speech! Having worked in a bar whilst I was at uni, I got my fair share of people pretending to have a ‘speech impediment’ or just thinking that I’d help them to ‘talk better’ (picture ridiculous lisps and the like!). I think that’s how my uni friends and I started pretending to do anything other than Speech Pathology whilst we were out with drunken ones!
Anyway! Sometimes we are called Speech Language Pathologists, as we also work with language difficulties. A coming post on the actual difference between speech and language. But we do much more than that….!
We can help children with delayed pretend play skills, those with attention difficulties, help teach cognitive skills, or help students who are struggling with literacy skills at school. We teach social skills to children from pre-school to high school. We can also help children with voice difficulties such as vocal nodules. We work in hospitals with little newborns who have difficulties breastfeeding and those who have been born with a disability right through to supporting teachers at school. We also work in community health centres. Other Speech Pathologists work in private practice and cover some or all of the issues above. We educate parents and other people involved with the child such as daycare leaders, teachers and even siblings.
Speaking for myself, I work with children with disabilities from birth to six years old. We see children with autism, Down syndrome, many other syndromes, hearing impairments, intellectual impairments, Cerebral Palsy, medical complications, brain injuries and children with no diagnosis but whom are globally delayed. Not only do I teach the children language skills, clearer speech, preliteracy skills, play and social skills but I also educate their parents so that they can continue ‘therapy’ for the rest of the time they are not with me. Working closely beside physiotherapists, occupational therapists and psychologists, I also gain many skills off them which I can also pass onto the kids and families. This job is where I draw my inspiration from in being an enthusiastic parent with my own children!
Speech pathology is now becoming quite a popular course at university as it is a rewarding career and is being sought out more.
Did you know Paul Jennings, author of some great books and the old TV series ‘Round the Twist’ is a speech pathologist?
So now you know a bit more about us Speech Pathologists!
Oh and of course we do lisps and stuttering!! 🙂