SLPs Role in the Schools

Posted by Gena Swanagan Frazer on 9/18/2020 7:00:00 AM

Speech Language Pathology is a bit of a mystery to the general population.  The profession has existed for a little over 100 years, with its beginnings based in speech correction.  The idea of speech correction is what lingers in most people’s minds today.  But what do SLP’s really do?

SLPs work with people of all ages, from infants to adults.  Their profession focuses on the prevention, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing.  Within each of the above areas, there are more specific conditions that a SLP addresses under the speech umbrella such as, vocal quality, speech fluency or stuttering, accent reduction, apraxia, and dysarthria while aphasia is housed in the area of language. And if that weren’t enough, the SLP works in the ever-changing world of augmentative & alternative communication to establish effective communication for individuals that do not have reliable oral expression.  

Because of the diverse nature of their practice, the SLP can be found working in multiple settings including, clients’ homes, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, long-term and residential care facilities, private clinics, colleges/universities and the site with which we are most familiar, schools.  In fact, more than half of the speech language pathologist work force is located in the school setting.    

In the past fifteen years, there has been a shift in the practice of SLPs in the school setting from one of speech sound correction to the promotion of skills that allows students to improve their access to their academic, social, and social/emotional functioning.  More than ever, SLPs are functioning in a team-based approach to ensure optimal access to general education curriculum and state standards.            

Over the next several months we will be delving into the use of evidence-based practice used by speech-language therapist when providing support in the areas of articulation and phonology (speech sounds), dysfluency (stuttering), voice, receptive and expressive language, and pragmatic (social) language and feature some of the therapists that have implemented practices in their schools with great results.  I hope you are looking forward to this learning journey. 


Gena Swanagan Frazer,  M. A., CCC/SLP
SLP Department Head