Speech pathologists study, diagnose and treat communication disorders. This includes difficulties with speech, language, reading and writing, stuttering and voice.
People who experience difficulties swallowing food and drinking safely can also be helped by a speech pathologist.
Speech pathologists work with people who have communication and swallowing difficulties that:
- arise from premature birth, or may be present from birth (e.g. cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, hearing impairments and cleft palate), or
- occur as a result of physical, intellectual or sensory disability or a mental illness, or
- emerge during early childhood (e.g. speech and language disorders, stuttering, difficulties learning to read and write), or
- occur during adult years (e.g. traumatic brain injury, stroke, head/neck cancers, neurodegenerative disorders such as motor neurone disease), or
- develop in the elderly (e.g. dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease).
The video below shows how one woman rediscovered her voice following a stroke.
We have an in-house speech pathologist
Our resident speech pathologist, Naomi DeNicolo, has nearly 20 years’ clinical experience. She enjoys being part of the PVH Medical team, providing support for the members of the Pascoe Vale community.
Speech Pathology Week 2018
This year, Speech Pathology Week is 19-25 August. It seeks to promote speech pathology and the work done by speech pathologists with the more than 1 million Australians who have a communication or swallowing disorder that impacts on their daily life.
Communication is a basic human right and Speech Pathology Week seeks to promote this fact.
Tips for successful communication
- Always treat the person with the communication disability with dignity and respect
- Be welcoming and friendly
- Understand there are many ways to communicate
- Ask the person with the disability what will help with communication
- Avoid loud locations, find a quiet place
- Listen carefully
- When you don’t understand, let them know you are having difficulty understanding
- If you think the person has not understood, repeat what you have said or say it a different way
- Try asking the person yes or no questions if you are having difficulty understanding them
- Ask the person to repeat or try another approach if you don’t understand
- To make sure you are understood, check with the person that you have understood them correctly
- If you ask a question, wait for the person to reply
- Allow the person time to respond, so always be patient
- Speak directly to the person and make eye contact (though be mindful that there are some people who may not want you to look at them, e.g. some people with autism spectrum disorder)
- Speak normally (there is no need for you to raise your voice or slow your speech).
Source: Speech Pathology Australia
Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.