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What is Speech and Language Therapy?

Speech and language therapy is a relatively new field of allied health that supports a range of communication disorders. Another area speech therapists (sometimes called speech language pathologists) work in is feeding disorders. Speech therapists work across the life span meaning they might see a new born infant, a toddler, school-aged child or adolescent, and even work with end of life (palliative care).



Speech is production of the sounds that make up spoken language. Language is understanding and expression through the organised system of symbols and words to communicate meaning.


Speech is produced using the lips, jaw, tongue, throat and larynx (voice box). Language can be written, read, gestured, signed, spoken, listened to, and expressed through body language.


When we talk about 'language' in general we do not mean English, French, Chinese, but instead the overall system that underpins any and all specific languages, including sign languages. Some people have difficulty with their speech or language abilities however it is possible (and more likely) to have problems with both.


The speech and language therapist works to support those with speech and/or language difficulties through a series of evidence-based techniques and therapy approaches. They will often work alongside other professionals such as occupational therapists, psychologists, educators, doctors, and more.

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