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Speech-Language Pathologist – How to Find One and Make a Good Match

There are many ways to find a speech-language pathologist (SLP). After you locate one or more, you may want to ask her or him some questions to make a good match to meet your needs and your child’s needs.

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) have completed professional training at accredited universities and hold a Masters degree at a minimum. Most SLPs who provide clinical practice have a Masters degree as their highest degree. Most who have earned a doctorate (Ph. D.) are college or university professors who train students and/or conduct research.

SLPs practice in public schools, including in some charter schools or private schools, in clinics, in hospitals, and in private practices. Some SLPs provide services in their patients’ homes.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is the professional association for SLPs and also for audiologists. Audiologists have another professional association, the American Academy of Audiology. ASHA is the organization that certifies SLPs and audiologists for practice. Certification is achieved when an individual receives a masters degree, completes a paid Clinical Fellowship Year (CFY) under supervision, passes a national board exam, and pays necessary fees. Continuous annual membership in ASHA is mandatory for maintenance of certification. ASHA is an excellent source of information for consumers on a variety of topics related to speech, language, voice, fluency, swallowing, and hearing, and it maintains a referral service to consumers seeking evaluation and treatment.

Every state also has a state association starting with the state’s name, for example, the Colorado Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Look online or check in your business white pages of your telephone directory. All or most state associations provide referral services to certified professionals. Membership in the state associations is optional for clinicians.

If your child has been diagnosed with a specific condition, consider contacting the national, state, or local organization that supports that condition. You may receive support, information, and referrals which will be quite helpful to you. There may be service agencies in your area with professionals who specialize in the care of children who have your child’s diagnosis. One example is for autism.

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