What does a Speech Therapist do?
A speech therapist (or speech language pathologist) assists a patient with problems with swallowing and communication disorders caused by hearing loss, stroke, brain injuries, birth defects or other difficulties, to include cerebral palsy and emotional problems.
Speech therapists are involved in the diagnosis and treatment of patients’ and they mostly work full-time in schools with an individual student or in groups. They test the person’s initial ability and improve their ability over time.
How to Become a Speech Therapist
In order to become a speech therapist a master’s degree is usually required. A license is needed in the state of practice, however each state may vary on the requirements to practice a Speech Therapist, so make sure to check your state’s website for more information.
Job Description of a Speech Therapist
A speech therapist diagnose and develop treatment for people with difficulties, such as, swallowing disorders, stuttering, delayed language, stroke or other problems. They implement treatment based on their own assessment of the problem and from the referral by social workers, physicians or psychologist and monitor the patients’ progress.
As part of the evaluation of the patient, a speech-language therapist would conduct specific tests, such as, barium swallow results, speech, language and hearing test information and medical background. They write and keep on-going documentation of every case from the initial evaluation through the diagnosis, treatment, progress or adjustments and discharge. They would carry out the coordination of scheduling case management, writing lesson plans or any paperwork that is part of the administrative responsibility. They may also implement activities in a school to help with any disorder, such as, swallowing, behavioral problems or speech. They assist a patient with their effectiveness in communication with aids, such as, lip reading, sign language or the improvement of voice.
Part of the speech therapist duties would also be to incorporate treatment for patients’ that involve and/or educates the other family members in order to help everyone involved to properly communicate and cope with various issues. He or she would require a knowledge of psychology, english language, to include, spelling, structure, content and composition. They need to be knowledgeable in counseling, therapy and medicine, as well. They need the skills of learning strategies, social perceptiveness, decision and judgement making and be an active listener.
A speech therapist would know how to gather information from several relevant sources and be able to document and/or record it through electronic or written form. They need to remain current technically and use new information on the job. It would be important for a speech-language therapist to assist and care for others, such as, emotional support, medical attention or other areas of need. They establish interpersonal relationships and maintain them and are skilled at solving problems and making decisions.