Speech pathology is a clinical specialty of medical practice wherein a speech pathologist is primarily responsible for diagnosing, treating, and preventing speech disorders. The term pathology can also describe a branch of medicine that mainly deals with disorders of the nervous system and other parts of the body. Speech pathology, therefore, refers to the study of the structure and function of the vocal cords and the various systems and organs that support them. Speech pathology thus covers basic aspects of speech that include vocal physiology (biology and study of the vocal cords and their structures), speech pathophysiology (study of the pathological mechanisms involved in abnormal speech production), and audiological (apparatus used in examining the auditory apparatus). Speech pathology, therefore, encompasses all the aspects of speech production, speech perception, speech behaviour, and speech pathology.
Speech pathology, therefore, consists of specialties like audiology, voice and speech pathophysiology, articulation and swallowing disorders, communication disorders (diamagnetism, stuttering etc.), dyslexia, stammering, fluency, and speech disabilities. In medicine, speech therapists often play a pivotal role in diagnosing and treating the disorders. Speech Pathologists are thus required to have a thorough knowledge of the medical terminology, the medical history and the medical facts of patients so that he/she can diagnose correctly and provide appropriate treatment.
To become a speech pathologist in Speech pathology Adelaide, one needs to have a Master’s degree in speech-language pathology from an accredited institute. Though this is an entry-level job, some specialists find it very challenging because of the ever-changing technologies and the advent of many new therapeutic approaches. Many individuals who possess Information Technology and Internet-based therapies and specialized knowledge in computer systems may also consider this career a part-time job opportunity.
One can work either independently or in a hospital setting. Some individuals with a Master’s degree opt for private practice, while others work as staff in speech pathology departments of hospitals. In a private practice setting, speech pathologists usually take care of their patients. They communicate via telephone, Internet, or video conferencing, etc. The professionals are equipped with the knowledge of the particular ailment being treated and refer the patients to a specialist when necessary. A staff also comes in to help in urgent situations like a child who blocks the telephone dialling code.
Speech pathology and audiology graduate programs give students a chance to work in a clinical environment closely related to their area of specialization. The training often spans two years. Students complete modules such as basic biology, speech anatomy, voice disorders, medical terminology, physiology, medical transcription, research methods, etc. The graduate schools may also include medical ethics, medical informatics, etc., as part of their curriculum.
The course work typically includes brain injuries, child development disorders, hearing, English language disorders, etc. One can complete a six-month post-graduate course in this field. Those who want to specialize can opt for a one-year Master’s degree program which takes around two years for completion. Postgraduates get a certificate, indicating that they have completed an entire set of requirements to be an effective speech pathologist in Speech pathology Adelaide.