Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are professionals educated in the study of human communication, its development, and its disorders. SLPs assess speech, language, cognitive-communication, and oral/feeding/swallowing skills to identify types of communication problems (articulation; fluency; voice; receptive and expressive language disorders, etc.) and the best way to treat them. Audiology entails the diagnosis of hearing problems, fitting of hearing aids and therapy for patients with impaired hearing. Therapy is aimed at improving language, speech and lip-reading abilities as well as listening disabilities and also the treatment of persons with cochlear implants.In speech-language therapy, an SLP will work with a child one-on-one, in a small group, or directly in a classroom to overcome difficulties involved with a specific disorder. Therapists use a variety of strategies, including:

Auditory Verbal Therapy:

is a method for teaching deaf children to listen and speak using their residual hearing in addition to the constant use of amplification devices such as hearing aids, FM devices, and cochlear implants. Auditory-verbal therapy emphasizes speech and listening. The basic premise of Auditory-Verbal practice is that parent(s)/caregivers actively participate in individualized therapy sessions so they learn how to seize opportunities throughout the day to maximize auditory learning for children with hearing impairments. The goal is that the child develops and relies on spoken communication to become an independent member of society.

Phonological Therapy:

All phonological approaches focus on teaching children the function of sounds, particularly that changing sounds changes meaning, and that making meaning is a necessary to communication. The aims are to modify a group, or groups, of sounds produced in error, in a patterned way, to highlight characteristic contrasts rather than accurate sound production and to emphasize the use of sounds for communicative purposes.

Fluency and Voice Therapy:

Fluency therapy addresses disorders, cluttering and stuttering that cause breaks in the fluidity of speech. The goal is to improve the smoothness or flow with which sounds, words and phrases are joined together when the person speaks quickly. Fluency disorders are most often complex in nature and they tend to occur more often in boys than in girls.

Resonance or Voice Therapy:

addresses problems with the pitch, volume, or quality of the voice that distract listeners from what’s being said. These types of disorders may also cause pain or discomfort for a child when speaking.

Language Intervention Activities:

The SLP will interact with a child by playing and talking, using pictures, books, objects, or ongoing events to stimulate language development. The therapist may also model correct pronunciation and use repetition exercises to build speech and language skills. The SLP addresses receptive disorders: difficulties understanding or processing language and expressive disorders: difficulty putting words together, limited vocabulary, or inability to use language in a socially appropriate way.

Articulation Therapy:

Articulation, or sound production, exercises involve having the therapist model correct sounds and syllables for a child, often during play activities. The level of play is age-appropriate and related to the child’s specific needs. The SLP will physically show the child how to make certain sounds, such as the “r” sound, and may demonstrate how to move the tongue to produce specific sounds.

Oral-motor/feeding and Swallowing therapy:

The SLP will use a variety of oral exercises — including facial massage and various tongue, lip, and jaw exercises — to strengthen the muscles of the mouth. The SLP also may work with different food textures and temperatures to increase a child’s oral awareness during eating and swallowing.