Speech-language pathologists (SLP) are communication experts. They work with people of all ages, from infants to adults to treat various types of communication problems. Here are some things SLPs can help people improve:

Cognitive-communication is how well the mind functions. It involves attention, memory, problem-solving, organization, and other thinking skills.

Fluency is how well an individual’s speech flows. Some problems like stuttering can affect fluency. It can cause them to repeat sounds in a word, use “uh” or “um” too much, or pause when speaking. Most people experience these problems when they talk sometimes, but it can make communicating difficult if it happens too often.

Language is how well we understand what is heard or read and how we use words to tell other people what we are thinking. Adults with language problems may have aphasia.

Literacy is how well an individual reads and writes. Those with language and speech disorders will likely have trouble reading, writing, and spelling words.

Social communication is how well a person follows the rules, like not interrupting others and not standing too close to someone when speaking. It is knowing how to communicate with others without making them feel uncomfortable, also called pragmatics.

Speech Sounds are the noises we make to form words and speak a language. People can have difficulty with articulation, have phonological disorders, speech apraxia, or dysarthria. These conditions affect the way speech sounds are produced, which can make it difficult for others to understand the speaker.

Swallowing and feeding are how well we chew and swallow liquids and food. Swallowing disorders can lead to weight loss, poor nutrition and other health issues. It is also called dysphagia, which many are surprised to learn is a disorder SLPs can help treat.

Related: What to know about Speech Therapy.

Voice is the sound produced from a person’s throat and through their mouths. Some people can sound hoarse, talk too loudly, not loud enough, lose their voice easily, talk through their nose, or be unable to make certain sounds. Many people think they have to live with these issues, but an SLP can help minimize them or even eliminate them altogether.

You can find SLPs at physicians’ offices, hospitals, schools, colleges and universities, rehabilitation centres, long-term and residential health care facilities, and private practices.

If your child or teenager has any of these speech disorders, contact Shelley Ortved. She is SLP that provides evidence-based treatment to people in the Greater Toronto Area. Shelley is committed to finding a solution to any communication challenge your child struggles with.

Related: 5 Ways a Speech Pathologist can help your Child.