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A Speech-Language Pathology Assistant is a trained professional who helps Speech-Language Pathologists with the day-to-day tasks of caring for patients with communication disorders. The work of a Speech-Language Pathology Assistant can occur in a number of settings, including schools, hospitals, and rehabilitation facilities.
As the need for communication help grows with an aging population and a surge in autism diagnoses, Speech-Language Pathologists are in high demand. To stay on task and on schedule, they need you — the Speech-Language Pathology Assistant — to help with a number of things.
You may be asked to assist with inventory and maintenance of equipment and supplies, updating of records, scheduling of appointments, and preparation of new patients. You may also be asked to work directly with the patient on an exercise. And because of your experience and knowledge, you may even be called upon to assist with diagnoses and formulation of treatment plans.
Your other duties as an Assistant will vary, depending on your typical patient load and the setting in which you work. For example, Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologists may need your help in selecting and maintaining toys that will hold a young patient’s interest during sessions.
While it may not be required of you, it’s smart to learn at least a few words and phrases in American Sign Language, as many patients rely on this form of communication while working on their speech. A patient and compassionate personality is best, since progress in speech and language can often be very slow.