What is a Speech Pathologist?

Private Speech Pathologists Association of WA

What Do We Do?

The Private Speech Pathologists Association represents over 80 speech pathologists working in private practice in Western Australia, assisting people of all ages to overcome communication and swallowing impairments.

What is a Speech Pathologist?

A Speech Pathologist is a tertiary trained professional who is educated in the study of the development and disorders of communication and swallowing. The Speech Pathologist may evaluate a combination of the client’s speech, language, fluency, literacy, voice and/or swallowing skills to determine if intervention is needed. In consultation with the family an individual management plan is created.

Speech Pathologists have in the past been called Speech Therapists, and are sometimes referred to as Speech-Language Pathologists and Speech and Language Therapists. All members of PSPAWA are also practicing members of Speech Pathology Australia.

Who does a Speech Pathologist see?

Speech Pathologists work with clients across the age span, from infants to the elderly.

What does a Speech Pathologist do?

Speech Pathologists perform assessments to determine the type and severity of the client’s difficulties. Assessment may be formal (eg. completing a test) or informal (eg. observation of skills) or a combination of both. The results of assessments are compiled and are used in explaining the findings to the client and relevant others.

Management may take a variety of forms, depending upon the needs of the client. It may include individual sessions, group sessions, prescribing of equipment, classroom activities, or contact with other professionals (e.g. teachers, workshop managers, occupational therapists, psychologists, paediatrician, ENT surgeons).

Case conferencing can be an integral part of management of a client’s needs. Consultation with family members, school teachers, work colleagues, and other significant communication partners is vital to ensure success of the management program and the client reaching their full potential.

Speech Pathologists can also provide education sessions to community groups, schools, playgroups, nursing homes and other interested parties.

What types of difficulties does a Speech Pathologist manage?

Speech Pathologists assess and treat a wide range of communication and feeding skills, including:

  • Language
  • Voice
  • Speech Sounds
  • Stuttering
  • Hearing
  • Feeding and Swallowing
  • Literacy
  • Interpersonal Skills
Some members of PSPAWA have a special interest or experience in particular topics, including:

  • Nonverbal communication
  • Veterans affairs
  • Acquired adult disorders
  • Attention related disorders
  • Business and professional issues
  • Learning difficulty
  • Nursing home consultation
  • Physical disability

Speech Pathologists work with children and adults with specific diagnoses such as:

  • Autism
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Aspergers Syndrome
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder
  • Cleft Palate
  • Global Developmental Delay
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Learning Disabled
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Downs Syndrome
  • Stroke