[Overton]Does Somebody You Know Need a Speech-Language Pathologist?

Johnny just turned three and is unintelligible to all but his immediate family. His parents are having a harder time understanding him the older he gets. Relatives and friends constantly ask Johnny's parents to interpret for them.

Bobby is in the third grade and has always struggled to read. This year the problem is getting worse. He is having more trouble keeping up with the other students in his class and his grades are falling. He is becoming frustrated and is beginning to not want to go to school.

Jill is a telephone operator who has in times past had periodic bouts of laryngitis. Now her voice is almost gone and she is panicky. She has to work. She has bills to pay, yet her voice won't cooperate.

Jason is a six year old elementary school student who speaks in "roundabout" sentences and uses an elaborate gesture system as he talks. He knows exactly what he wants to say, but has trouble "finding the words" to express himself.

Susan was born with a cleft palate. She has had her palate repaired surgically, but sounds no different than before. Her parents are confused as to why surgery did not help Susan speak more clearly.

W-w-w-w-why can't I t-t-talk like the oooooother kids? I-I-I try but nnnnnnothing seems to help. Don is a nine year old who stutters. He has stuttered since he was four, but the problem has gotten worse recently. In fact, during the past several weeks he has begun to avoid talking in class.

What is the common thread binding these different people together? They all have a speech or language disorder and can benefit from receiving speech therapy.

Some have speech problems. These people might have difficulty pronouncing certain sounds correctly, stutter, or have a voice that sounds hoarse and strained. The trouble can occur at any point along the vocal tract - from the diaphragm to the lips or even the brain.

Some are born with structures that are missing or unattached. Surgery is required to "fix" the structure. Unfortunately "fixing" the structure doesn't always "fix" the speech problem.

Others have language problems. Their mouths work fine; it's the inner workings in the brain that are the problem. For some, it's in the storage; for others it's in the retrieval; still others have problems with sequencing the information properly.

Rather frustrating isn't it? Fortunately, there are professionals who are trained to help these people. Who are they? They are speech-language pathologists and they are qualified to diagnose and treat a wide variety of speech and language disorders in both children and adults. They work in conjunction with the physicians, teachers, family and friends of those with speech and language disorders to help them communicate better.

In Texas, speech-language pathologists must hold a license to practice issued by the state. The requirements for this license are based largely on the guidelines for national certification, which are set by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

In order to earn national certification, both educational and practicum requirements must be fulfilled. The first requirement is a Masters Degree in Communication Pathology, which includes supervised clinical experience in addition to coursework. Upon completion of the Masters Degree, the graduate can be employed as an intern speech-language pathologist. The intern is closely supervised during the first year of employment (Clinical Fellowship Year or CFY) by a speech-language pathologist who has already been certified by ASHA. The third requirement for certification is to pass the national board examination. Once all three of these requirements have been met, the Certificate of Clinical Competence-SLP is awarded and the intern becomes a fully certified speech-language pathologist. In order to maintain the state license and the national certification, continuing education hours must be earned on a yearly basis.

Click here to see the qualifications of Valerie Johnston.

If you have questions or need more information you can contact me at:

Overton Speech & Language Center, Inc.
Fort Worth, TX
(817) 294-8408


Return to home page

Copyright 2001-2008 Overton Speech & Language Center, Inc.
Last revised: January 14, 2009