Robin Smith

Speech Language Pathology

What is a Speech Pathologist?

Speech pathologists, officially called speech-language pathologists and sometimes called speech therapists, work with people who have a variety of speech-related disorders. These disorders can include the inability to produce certain sounds, speech rhythm and fluency problems, and voice disorders. Speech pathologists' work involves assessment, diagnosis and treatment of speech-related disorders.

What Is Speech-Language Therapy?

Speech-language therapy is the treatment for most kids with speech and/or language disorders. A speech disorder refers to a problem with the actual production of sounds, whereas a language disorder refers to a difficulty understanding or putting words together to communicate ideas.

Speech Disorders and Language Disorders

Speech disorders include the following problems, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA):

  • Articulation disorders include difficulties producing sounds in syllables or saying words incorrectly to the point that other people can't understand what's being said.

  • Fluency disorders include problems such as stuttering, the condition in which the flow of speech is interrupted by abnormal stoppages, repetitions (st-st-stuttering), or prolonging sounds and syllables (ssssstuttering).


Language disorders can be either receptive or expressive:

  • Receptive disorders refer to difficulties understanding or processing language.

  • Expressive disorders include difficulty putting words together, limited vocabulary, or inability to use language in a socially appropriate way.