A speech pathologist is a doctor that specializes in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders associated with the speech production organs or tissues of the body. Speech pathology refers to a discipline of medical practice practised by a physician called a speech specialist or speech therapist, both of which may be described by the short term speech pathologist. The work of a speech pathologist is to help diagnose, treat, and prevent disorders and diseases of the voice, larynx, pharynx, lungs and esophagus. The work of the speech pathologist ranges far and wide and includes diagnosis of various diseases and their complications, treatments of speech pathology, and prevention of further disease.
There are three main areas that Speech pathologist Adelaide addresses. They are language, phonological, and communication disorders. As the name indicates, language pathology deals with disorders involving communication disorders such as vocal cord problems, stuttering, fluency problems, etc. Phonological language pathology deals with disorders related to sounds and their production. And communication disorders pertain to communication problems in speaking, listening, and writing, with communication being the key to all human activities.
The study of speech pathology can be started at any stage in one’s life. You can start it at the age you speak, from childhood to early adulthood, and if you are successful, you can continue your studies until you earn your master’s degree. Some of the typical coursework you will cover during your studies include speech therapy, voice-language pathology and developmental/therapeutic phonography. Depending on what kind of a course you want to pursue in your speech pathology career, you can choose between an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, doctorate and doctoral degree.
A licensed speech-language pathologist can either work independently or in a hospital setting. If you want to work alone, you can start your private practice in a clinic dedicated to treating speech-language disorders. You can also open your school to treat these communication disorders, which has two settings: one is in a school environment, and the other is in a rehabilitation centre or a health care unit. Even though you can work as a speech-language pathologist in a hospital setting, you have the choice to open your clinic if you prefer.
You might wonder how these speech pathologists can distinguish between mental illnesses and neurological conditions. First of all, the symptoms must be apparent. A person who hears sounds that they cannot identify does not necessarily have a hearing problem. The term ‘communication disorder’ encompasses many difficulties, including fluency problems, stuttering, slurring, stammering, and many more. To differentiate the two, the speech pathologist must have excellent knowledge in the field of language.
You need to have formal training and extensive clinical experience to become a licensed speech pathologist. You need to gain this license through either a master’s degree program or an MD/ MPH program. It is not uncommon for people to enter the field without having completed education at all. While some people will have an advanced degree, in most states, you will need to have at least a Master’s degree to practice legally.