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Talk to any medical professional and they will tell you, they can’t go to a social gathering without being asked for their professional opinion. A speech-language pathologist (SLP) is one of the those professionals. When I meet someone new, whether it be at a baby shower, church, or a school soccer game, I typically get asked the same 2 questions: “What’s a Speech-Language Pathologist?” and “My child does _______. Is that normal for their age?”
As an SLP, let me try to help answer some of your unanswered questions. First, “What is a Speech-Language Pathologist?” As defined by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), SLP’s work to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders in children and adults.
SLP’s work in various settings, including Schools, Private Practices, In Homes, Hospitals, Outpatient Rehabilitation Clinics, Skilled Nursing Facilities. Though the SLP Scope of Practice is vast, it is best to know your SLP’s area of expertise and specialties before consulting with them. One SLP may work with people with swallowing disorders and no longer work with children. Therefore, they may not be your go-to source on child language disorders.
Now when it comes to the follow up question “My child does _______. Is that normal for their age?” This question is much trickier to answer without working with your child and evaluating them myself. However, there are some TIPS for parents, teachers, and other professionals that I would love to share with you if you have a concern about a child's development.