Speech pathologists are also called speech therapists. These are experts who diagnose, prevent and treat communication problems in patients. Speech problems dealt with by speech pathologists are caused by factors such as emotional problems, hearing loss, development delay stroke, cerebral palsy, hearing loss and many others. These speech experts work with patients who either unable to speak completely or those who speak with difficulty. The speech difficulties encountered in this case include stuttering problems, rhythm problems or fluency difficulties. These experts may also work with people with voice disorders such as harsh voices and low pitch or have difficulty in understanding a language.
Duties of Pathologists
Teaching those who have little or no speech capability ob how to make and improve their sounds. They also help them to improve their voices. As a result, with the assistance of speech pathologists, speech impaired individuals are able to use their language skills in making better communications.
They develop individual plans that take care of patients.
To diagnose the extent and nature of impairment. This is accompanied by a duty to record and analyze swallowing irregularities and language of the speech impaired persons. All this tasks are performed by carrying out oral and written tests. Speech pathologists need special equipments for them to effectively carry out such tests.
Duty to select alternative communication techniques and methods for their patients. The techniques are inclusive of sign language and automated devices. They also have duty to assist their patients in understanding such techniques.
Identifying treatment options for their patients
Counsel patients and their families and patients by teaching them ways in which they can cope with speech disorders.
To teach and work with their patients in strengthening muscles used in swallowing.
To improve the reading and writing abilities of their patients
They carry out administrative tasks. These experts have to keep records of changes in treatment plans, treatment progress and patient evaluations. They are also responsible of carrying out final evaluation of their patients to determine if there is positive speech progress on the patient.
Currently, more than half of speech pathologists jobs are in preschools, secondary and elementary schools. Other speech pathologists work in nursing care facilities, child day care facilities, hospitals, outpatient care centers, home care service centers and family service centers. There are some speech pathologists that are self employed where they offer services such as consultancy services.
Educational and Other Qualifications
You must be a holder of a masters’ degree in speech pathology in order for you to be legally allowed to practice the profession. Most countries have a board that licenses speech pathology practitioners. One has to meet the set standards set by these boards for him or her to get registered by the boards. Students of speech pathology are required to cover areas such as physiology, principles of acoustic and anatomy before they graduate. They are also required to go for a supervised clinical training as part of strategies of gaining experience. While undergoing the clinical training, students acquire technical skills, personal qualities and soft skills that are needed in the field of speech pathology. Qualified speech pathologists are expected to have good speaking and listening skills. They should also have personal qualities such as compassion in order for them to excel in this field. Another very important quality of a speech pathologist is the ability to think critically. This helps in determining the treatment needs of the patient and also to make necessary adjustments where necessary.
Wages and Salaries
Speech Pathologists earn an annual medium salary of 70 000 Us Dollars. The hourly earnings rate of these experts is around 60 to 200 US dollars.
Employment opportunities for a newly graduated speech pathologist are expected to increase at a higher rate compared to most jobs. According job research, this increase is expected to take effect as from the year 2021. Speech pathologists that have specialized in bilingual speech especially those who speak Spanish, French and Spanish will be in high demand by the year 2020. The increase in job opportunities is contributed factors such as increase in baby-boom population that gets older. As a result, more health healthy disorders associated with speech such as hearing loss and strokes are expected to occur. Sectors that this increase in demand for pathologists will take place include schools and health sector. Health institutions especially private hospitals and other health centers are expected to create more employment opportunities for these speech experts.
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