Many people often think that the primary role of a paediatric speech pathologist is to help children with their speech. While this is an important part of the job, it’s far from the only thing paediatric speech pathologists do. These workers focus on helping children improve their communication, among other everyday life skills, to help them lead a successful life.
To learn more about this important job, here is some background on paediatric speech pathology experts:
Paediatric Speech Pathologist Education
To become a paediatric speech pathology expert, you first need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. While an undergraduate degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders is preferred, you can get nearly any degree. However, you will need to take certain courses in language development and linguistics to get the prerequisites you need for your graduate degree.
Once you’ve completed your bachelor’s and the required prerequisite courses, you can move on to complete a graduate degree in speech-language pathology. Once you’ve graduated, you must complete a post-graduate fellowship, as well as pass the national speech-language pathology exam. This allows you to apply for a license through your state as a speech-language pathologist, where you can begin to practice.
Paediatric Speech Pathologist Roles
This job involves multiple responsibilities related to childrens’ development and communication.
As children begin to speak, they can develop a few issues that prevent them from a normal speech pattern. A paediatric speech pathology expert helps children who have trouble articulating or pronouncing certain sounds or letters, work on stuttering, and any other voice disorders.
Receptive & Expressive Language
Children may have trouble taking directions, or understanding what is being said to them when a parent or peer speaks to them. Alternatively, they may have trouble communicating their own thoughts, preventing them from speaking to their own wants and needs.
To help with processing and understanding, a paediatric speech pathology expert will help the child with receptive and expressive language.
Feeding & Swallowing
Some children have trouble understanding how to chew and swallow correctly. To prevent injuries, illnesses or choking from occurring, a paediatric speech pathology expert will work with children to treat feeding and swallowing disorders.
Speech Pathology Sessions
Depending on their unique needs, a paediatric speech pathologist may see a child in a one-on-one session, a pair or small group, or even in a classroom for treatment. The pathologist will employ different treatments and strategies to work on the issue:
If a child is expressing issues with their articulation, or difficulty pronouncing or speaking, they will undergo articulation therapy. Here, the paediatric speech pathology experts will work with them to correct the speech issue through demonstration of the proper speech pattern, reinforcement and practice.
To help children work on their expression and reception, the pathologist will play and talk with them to encourage language development. Repeating correct ways to express and receive information through play and reading books or pictures reinforces the right communication with the child.
Feeding & Swallowing Therapy
Children experiencing feeding and swallowing difficulty will undergo specific therapy to help them develop their jaw muscles more, as well as strengthen the other muscles of the mouth.
Overall, paediatric speech language pathologists do a number of things to help children grow and develop in a productive way, ensuring they develop effective communication skills they will use well into their adult life. They are an important part of many childrens’ development and growth.