What is a Speech Pathologist? 

Speech pathologists work with people with communication problems and swallowing problems.
Speech pathologists study, assess, work out the problem, give advice, give therapy and find the right tools for you.

Communication problems include problems with speech, language, swallowing, stuttering and voice.

Where do speech pathologists work?

  • Schools.For example, helping a primary school student understand their teacher or working with a student with a stutter.
  • Hospitals. For example, giving tips about feeding to a mum whose baby has a cleft palate.
  • Aged care homes. For example, helping an old man with dementia to communicate with his family and carers
  • Universities. For example, training a teacher who loses their voice.
  • Kindergartens. For example, working with children who are difficult to understand.
  • Rehabilitation centres. For example, working with a young man after a motorcycle accident to speak again.
  • Community health centres. For example, treating a person to swallow safely after a stroke.
  • Private practice. For example, giving tips and aids to a person with cerebral palsy with no speech.
  • Mental health services. For example, working with young people to understand instructions.

Speech Pathologists are University qualified professionals who have undertaken rigorous training in the field. Postgraduate students have often done three years of study plus two years of intensive work coming out with a five year degree and a deep understanding of linguistic , language and cognitive processes.

In the past 15 years, there has been a conscious attempt by course conveners to encourage people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to study Speech Pathology so that there are people in the field who reflect or represent the population they serve.  You will find a Speech Pathologist in Sydney and Melbourne of Asian, Italian, Greek, Lebanese, and many other backgrounds. You will also find overseas trained therapists from the UK, North America, Canada, South Africa and other former British colonies.

Paediatric Speech Pathologists have taken this path because most of them like or enjoy the company of children. It is very important as a parent that you see a Speech Pathologist creating rapport with your child. Be mindful as a parent to not sabotage a good therapist -child relationship by bringing in your own issues, biases and feelings into the rapport. At the end of the day, the intervention is for and about your child.