How speech-language pathologists work with kids

At a glance

  • Speech-language pathologists help kids with all types of language and communication issues.

  • They’re often part of the special education team at school.

  • They may work with kids one-on-one or in small groups, or they may co-teach lessons with the classroom teacher.

When you hear the term speech-language pathologist (SLP), you might think of professionals who help kids with speech difficulties. And that’s not wrong. SLPs work on challenges like stuttering or trouble pronouncing word sounds.

But SLPs also work on challenges that are related to language. That includes problems with communication and reading.

These specialists are trained to work on many types of learning differences, including:

  • Dyslexia

  • Auditory processing disorder

  • Language disorders

  • Social communication disorder

SLPs (also known as speech-language therapists or speech therapists) often work with kids at school, where therapy is free. But some SLPs work in private practices. 

Speech therapy is tailored to meet a child’s needs. So, SLPs address specific skills. For example, they might help a child who has trouble with social skills make appropriate conversation. Or help a struggling reader connect letters to sounds.

SLPs don’t only help kids. Speech-language therapists who work privately may also treat adults with some language challenges. But it’s less common.

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