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A common misconception is that speech-language pathology is restricted to adjusting a speaker’s speech sound articulation to meet the expected normal pronunciation, such as helping English speaking individuals enunciate the traditionally difficult “r”. SLPs can also often help people who stutter to speak more fluently. Articulation and fluency are only two facets of the work of an SLP, however. Voice difficulties, such as a raspy voice, a voice that is too soft, or other voice difficulties that negatively impact a person’s social or professional performance.
Swallowing disorders can occur at any age and can stem from multiple causes. SLPs work to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders in children and adults. Parkinson’s Disease often develop voice issues as a result of their disease. SLPs collaborate with other health care professionals, often working as part of a multidisciplinary team. The treatment for patients with cleft lip and palate has an interdisciplinary character.
The speech therapy outcome is even better when the surgical treatment is performed earlier. SLPs work in a variety of clinical and educational settings. SLPs conduct research related to communication sciences and disorders, swallowing disorders, or other upper aerodigestive functions. In the United States, speech-language pathology is a Master’s entry-level professional degree field.