Speech language pathologists (SLPs) are trained to identify and remediate speech and language based difficulties that interfere with an individual’s ability to communicate when listening, speaking, reading or writing. Language competence rests upon smooth integration of skills in multiple language areas (e.g., semantics, syntax, pragmatics) and cognitive processes (e.g., working memory, processing speed, attention, retrieval).  Level of linguistic competence can vary in different environments (e.g., home, school, work, social) as different demands are placed upon an individual’s skills.  Slow development or impairment of specific language skills or cognitive-linguistic processes can be diagnosed and treated by a speech language pathologist.

SLPs complete a master’s level program at an institution accredited by the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA), earn an additional professional credential (Certificate of Clinical Competence) following a Clinical Fellowship Year, and hold state licensure where they practice. For more information, visit asha.org.

Below are some of the common terms that relate to speech and language functioning:

  • auditory processing
  • word retrieval
  • expressive and receptive language
  • phonological awareness
  • reading impairment or dyslexia
  • semantics or knowledge of word meanings and relationships
  • non-literal or figurative language
  • syntax or sentence formulation
  • morphology
  • written language
  • linguistic executive functioning or language formulation and organization (oral or written)
  • verbal problem solving
  • higher-level critical thinking skills such as inferring, analyzing and synthesizing linguistic information
  • metalinguistic awareness
  • social pragmatics
  • non-verbal communication
  • articulation
  • fluency or stuttering