Colasanzio, Jesse Adam - Speech Language Pathologist

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[edit] Job Title

Speech Language Pathologist (SLP)

[edit] General Overview

SLPs deal with impairments of or related to the vocal tract. SLPs practice assessments and therapies to help with speech and language disorders. In the educational sector, an SLP may work with children who display delayed speech production or speech impediments [1]. SLPs may help individuals who learned English as a second language and wish to refine their accents, although this is usually handled by instructors who specialize in English as a second language. In the medical sector SLPs perform assessments of chewing and swallowing ability for newly admitted patients [2]. There is also opportunity to open an independent practice where clients would come to receive speech and language assessments or treatments [3].

[edit] Job Duties and Responsibilities

When assessing young children for speech and language impairments, an SLP will typically take a speech sample, which includes at least 3 minutes of dialogue from the child [4]. This speech sample will then be analyzed, focusing on a number of features such as the mean length of each utterance or any pattern of consonant deletion. The child is assigned a level based on the speech assessment and the SLP will then determine what further interventions, if any, might benefit the particular child [5]. Some treatments, such as minor speech therapies, may be performed by the SLP, or else the child may be recommended to a second speech language professional. Within the medical system an SLP would perform assessments of chewing and swallowing impairments. After admittance to a hospital, some patients require an assessment of their chewing and swallowing in order to determine whether they may be given solid foods, or if they require pureed or processed food [6]. In this environment, the SLP performs the initial patient assessments but they typically do not administer any further treatments. Other health professionals will then follow the dietary recommendations put forth by the SLP [7].

[edit] Typical Workday

When practising within a school system an SLP will work during school hours (8am-4pm) [8]. During this time the SLP will assess children individually or in small group settings, usually outside of their normative classroom work. This is accomplished by collecting individual’s speech samples then applying a diagnostic assessment to determine the presence or absence of speech language impairments [9]. The SLP may also administer some speech therapy during school hours, depending on the situational demands and the number of children who require treatment [10]. SLPs practising in urban areas report busier work schedules because there is a higher demand for services in densely populated areas. SLPs in the public school system work from September until June, following the typical school year [11]. Within a hospital environment SLPs will typically work shifts during the day, 9am-5pm, because this timeframe has the highest number of hospital admissions [12]. An average day for an SLP may involve between 5 and 20 assessments, each taking approximately 20 minutes to thoroughly complete [13]. If a patient is admitted outside of this window and requires an immediate assessment before any further medical treatment may be administered. An SLP may be on-call to come in to assess the chewing and swallowing capabilities of the individual [14]. Any overtime hours performed by an SLP are well compensated in both the school and medical environments [15]. Educational Requirements and Other Qualifications A 2-year master’s degree in SLP is necessary to practice in Canada or the United States [16]. A 4-year bachelor degree is requisite to gain entry to the SLP master’s program [17]. Most master’s programs require between 10 and 20 hours of volunteering within the field of speech pathology. After graduation, to practice in Ontario you must register with the College of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists of Ontario [18]. Each license must be renewed annually to remain an active member [19].

[edit] Related Skills, Interests and Abilities

SLPs work directly with their clients, typically in a one-on-one setting, which requires a high degree of communication skills, interpersonal skills and patience [20]. The majority of the workload will be performed individually which requires independence and intrinsic motivation to complete. Other more general career-related skills, such as punctuality and time-management, are also necessary to help clients effectively and efficiently [21]. Relevance of Psychology Undergraduate Degree There are several psychology undergraduate courses that relate to a career as an SLP. For instance, courses on Perception explore the psychological processes involved with language production and perception, including articulators and auditory pathways. Many psychology departments offer courses on Early Childhood Language Development courses examine how humans acquire language throughout the early stages of maturation, beginning prenatally with exposure to their mother’s voice which initiates language development. Evolutionary Psychology offers a number of interesting theories regarding the origins of verbal communication among human beings, as well as to the differentiation of languages. An extensive knowledge of the history of language-related structures provides a more comprehensive understanding of their function in modern society.

[edit] Salary Potential

In Canada, SLPs will earn an average of $65 000 in annual income. Starting salaries range from $15 000 to $25 000, with a potential for $90 000 annually [22]. Typically, practices in urban areas report higher income due to the ease of access for patients. Job Outlook According to Service Canada the number of SLP jobs available has increased steadily over the past few years, especially after 2009 [23]. There is an increasing demand for SLP therapy among very young and very old age groups, as well as a constant influx of immigrants who wish to improve their accents [24].

[edit] To Know More

Please visit the following website for further information regarding careers in Speech Language Pathology:

[edit] Notes and References

  1. (Government of Canada, 2013)
  2. (Government of Canada, 2013)
  3. (University of Toronto, 2015)
  4. (University of Toronto, 2015)
  5. (University of Toronto, 2015)
  6. (University of Toronto, 2015)
  7. (University of Toronto, 2015)
  8. (Government of Canada, 2013)
  9. (University of Toronto, 2015)
  10. (Government of Canada, 2013)
  11. (University of Toronto, 2015)
  12. (Government of Canada, 2013)
  13. (University of Toronto, 2015)
  14. (University of Toronto, 2015)
  15. (Payscale, 2014)
  16. (Government of Canada, 2013)
  17. (University of Toronto, 2015)
  18. (Government of Canada, 2013)
  19. (Government of Canada, 2013)
  20. (University of Toronto, 2015)
  21. (University of Toronto, 2015)
  22. (Payscale, 2014)
  23. (2013)
  24. (Government of Canada, 2013)

Government of Canada. (2013). Audiologists and speech-language pathologists. Retrieved from 3141.shtml

Payscale. (2014). Speech-language pathologist (SLP) salary (Canada) [National Salary Data]. Retrieved from Language_Pathologist_%28SLP%29/Salary

University of Toronto. (2015). What is speech-language pathology? Retrieved from

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