Handout: What is Speech Therapy? - in English or Français
Handout featuring the role of speech-language pathologists, including speech and language, cognition, and dysphagia.
Qu’est-ce que l’orthophonie?
This SLP cracks us up. “Speech therapy? I don’t need speech therapy. I can talk just fine.” I can relate to so many moments she captures. One of my favorite clients was in his 90s. He had many problems with me. A) I was a woman. B) I was not a doctor. C) I was part of a generation that had completely lost perspective on what it means to work hard. D) I told him he had a problem swallowing.
We had many conversations about life, and somewhere along the way, we came up with a strategy that eliminated his aspiration. A few weeks after therapy ended, he looked at me confused, wondering who I was. I told him I was his speech therapist and his face lit up. “OH YES! You know, you really helped me learn how to swallow. I really appreciate that.” He paused, and then was unable to stop himself: “You know, for a woman, you’re pretty smart.”
Our profession seems to be stuck with the unfortunate name of speech therapist. Our other “better” name seems even more awkward to me. Speech-language pathologist?? I don’t think that really clears anything up for people. It’s kind of like the first time someone offers you some sweetbread. Initially, you might think, hmmmm, that sounds yummy. Like bread pudding or something.
But then, it arrives. A pile of organ meat from the thymus gland and pancreas.
Who named that one?
We can’t change our name. At least not without some massive movement. Even if we did, I’m not sure what we would call ourselves. Neuro-cognitive-linguistic-swallowing-speech-language pathologists? How about "Mental Swallowing Proctologist," what one SLP reported as "redneck hillbilly terms" in Oklahoma (see blog post: What SLPs are called around the world).
This handout is for Ashley, who emailed me asking for a simple handout she could provide to her colleagues that would outline what exactly our role is as speech therapists. You could also give it to your patients and their families at the time of evaluation. It’s targeted more for an adult population, but may also work with kids in medical settings.
Tech specs: Digital download (6.1 MB). PDF format. 1 page, 8.5x11 inches. Available in English or Français