Q1. Who is a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP)?
Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) are certified healthcare professionals who help individuals (infants to elders) with speech and swallowing difficulties/ disorders !
Q2. I talked at 5 years of age. So can I wait for my child to start speaking at 5?
No. This is a common mistake that many parents and caregivers do and end up consulting an SLP after 5-7 years of age, which makes the management process relatively tedious both for the practitioner and child/ parents.
Q3. Is speech therapy only for children who are late-talkers?
Not at all ! It is a big myth ! Qualified SLPs treat individuals from infants to elders for different speech/ language/cognitive/ swallowing concerns.
Q4. What are the common causes of speech, language and swallowing delays/ disorders?
Structural causes (eg: Cleft in lip/palate, voice problems due to structure issues in neck region - polyp/ nodule/ cyst/ tracheostomy/ neck cancer/ stenosis, etc,.)
Genetic causes (eg: Syndromes like Down's, Treacher Collins, etc,.)
Neurodevelopmental disorders (eg: Autism, ADHD, etc,.)
Neurological causes (eg: Cerebral Palsy, Stroke, Parkinson,'s, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Right Hemisphere Damage, Dysarthria,etc,.)
Neurocognitive causes (Dementia, Alzheimer's, etc,.)
Hearing Loss and Auditory Processing deficits and disorders
Sensory Processing Disorders (Abnormal difficulties in processing information through various senses - Auditory, Visual, Tactile, Vestibular, Olfaction and Gustatory)
Q5. Can we do speech therapy at home by watching Youtube videos and Google?
A big NO ! Such suggestions of simple activities might help for late talkers who have very mild speech delays. I have personally seen parents & caregivers come to me for professional guidance after trying out all sought of the so-called ‘DIYs’ available on Google. Seeking the right professional help still continues to be a social stigma for some parents and caregivers, since they are not ready to accept such conditions. People should understand that there is nothing wrong in contacting the concerned professional, so that access to appropriate diagnosis and management is not delayed. Consult at the earliest either to diagnose or rule out any condition - never hesitate!
Q6. What are the common disorders that SLPs diagnose and manage?
Speech and Language Delays/ Disorders (Across all ages)
Fluency Disorders (Stammering/ Stuttering, Cluttering)
Voice Disorders (Structural causes as quoted in Q4, Puberphonia, Spasmodic Dysphonia, etc,.)
Articulation & Resonance Disorders (Misarticulation, Cleft lip/palate, etc ,.)
Cognitive-linguistic disorders (Alzheimer's, Dementia, etc,.)
Neurological disorders (Aphasia, Dysarthria, Parkinson 's, Brain Injuries, Right hemisphere damage, etc,.)
Feeding and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia, Picky eating issues due to sensory concerns, etc,.)
There are much more difficulties and disorders, for which a qualified SLP can professionally guide !
Finally, before considering speech and language therapy for your family member/ friend, determining the credibility of the professional is important. All qualified SLPs (minimum requirement - A 4-year Bachelor degree in Audiology & Speech Language Pathology) will have a license number issued by the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI). Cross check the basic details and then start availing the required services. Do not fall prey to quacks!
For further details and queries, drop a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org !