Dr. Patrick R. Walden holds the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. He is also a New York State licensed Speech-Language Pathologist. His clinical work centered on assessment and treatment of swallowing disorders in the geriatric population but he has worked with a myriad of disorders serving populations from pediatrics to geriatrics in four U.S. States with brief clinical training in Mexico. His research has focused on the use of adult learning theories in the speech and hearing sciences.
The Communication Sciences and Disorders Fields
January 22, 2012
As one of my first blogs, I thought it may be a good idea to introduce interested readers to the Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) fields. Generally speaking, CSD fields cover many academic areas and several professions. The three most widely recognized professions are Speech-Language Pathologists, Audiologists, and Speech, Language, and Hearing Scientists. All three of these professions share a broad-based basic science underpinning as well as cross disciplinary knowledge from medicine, nursing, linguistics, child and adult development, sociology, applied anatomy and physiology, education theory, and acoustics just to name a few. All three of these disciplines share an interest in human communication including speaking, listening, thinking, hearing and swallowing. (If you are wondering about why swallowing is here, just remember that you chew and swallow with the same anatomy you speak.) What follows is a broad description of each profession as well as educational requirements to practice in each area. St. John’s University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in Speech-Language Pathology as well as Audiology.
Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) are, as you might guess, practitioners of speech-language pathology. Speech-language pathology is the study of human communication, swallowing, and disorders in these areas. An SLP works to prevent, evaluate, diagnose, and treat disorders of speech, language, cognitive-communication, and swallowing. An SLP may work in both medical and educational settings with clients/patients from birth to geriatrics. One example from the very recent past of a person who acquired a communication disorder was Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Her acquired disorder of communication was the result of a gunshot wound. She is currently working with an SLP to rehabilitate her speech and language skills. To practice speech-language pathology, a graduate degree and a State license (in most States) are required. It is also highly desirable to earn the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association because some insurance plans require that a practitioner possess the CCC-SLP to bill for their services.
Audiologists are, of course, practitioners of audiology. Audiology is the study of non-medical management of the auditory and balance systems. Audiologists generally work to prevent and identify impaired hearing and/or balance. Audiologists also perform rehabilitation of persons with hearing/balance disorders as well as dispense hearing aids and other assistive listening devices in children and adults. Audiologists also play a prominent role in working with people who have received cochlear implants. Audiologists must earn the Doctor of Audiology degree (Au.D.) as well as a State license (in most States) to practice. Like the SLP, it is highly desirable to earn the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Speech, Language, and Hearing Scientists often have the same clinical training as SLPs and Audiologists but most have advanced degrees in research, like the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or similar. The main difference for most speech, language, and hearing scientists compared to SLPs and Audiologists is that they usually mainly perform research to inform clinical practice of audiology and speech-language pathology. Most of the time, a researcher in this area focuses on a specific area of speech, language, or hearing. Most of these scientists work in college/universities, research laboratories, government agencies or private industry. If you have ever wondered how voice-guided telephone customer service (at your bank, for instance) came about, it is likely that a speech scientist was involve