Everyone strives for perfection. What does one do when we need to take a few steps extra to achieve our goal? We live in a society where having any kind of difficulty is till date, taken as a burden by the parents and caretakers. From not being able to tie shoe laces, to facing difficulties in communication. Several assumptions like- The child will talk eventually and learn everything by him/herself or, pressurising the child to excel when the he/she may have difficulty in keeping up to expectations. Worried about how the society will react to it, take it as a in-built problem in the family gene(s). The child may have no difficulty as such but not being talked to as a kid and left by him/herself may lead to speaking late and less. He/She can simply pick up a method of talking from a person who has a difficulty. Not only children, even adults and elderly who sometimes have trouble hearing do not accept the problem and difficulties they face. They’re often scared to go and ask for help. An adult may start to sound hoarse and ignore the same, thinking that it is no big deal or someone who starts coughing often when he or she swallows food/liquids. Often thought by people is that if it physically does not appear to be a problem, then why to go for a consultation or then they may get scared for the commitment that will be required.
Who is an “Audiologist and Speech-Language Pathologist” ? Many individuals around me would answer this question by saying “Arey jo gunga behera hota hai, unka doctor” or “The one who sells hearing aids.” Probably some people would answer it by saying, ” Arey who jo hakla ke bolta hai, bacho ke liye”.
Is this the only job of an Audiologist and Speech-Language Pathologist?
No, this is neither a misnomer nor completely correct. It is incomplete information that is perceived by many people. An ASLP not only diagnoses and provides therapy required but also plays an important role in terms of preventing and educating persons with Speech, Language, Hearing and Swallowing disorders. Next part would be, what are these Speech, language, hearing and swallowing disorders? Following them would be about the population involved and the different lines of disorders that the professional deals with.
In terms of populations, the ASLP deals with all populations, right from newborns to infants, school going children and adolescents, adults and elderly.That’s quite a huge population, isn’t it? In terms of disorders for diagnosis and therapy, there are many that are covered by the professional, as listed below:
- Identification of Hearing Loss and providing appropriate management for improved hearing.
- Detection of hearing loss in newborns, i.e., screening.
- Integrating listening skills in infants and children who have been fitted with an appropriate aid for hearing, facilitating Aural-Oral Speech (Listen and Speak).
- To reinstate hearing and listening skills for children and adults who have acquired a hearing loss.
- Delayed Speech and Language Development.
- Articulation Disorders.
- Voice Disorders
- Fluency Disorders (Stuttering and Cluttering)
- Pragmatic Language Disorders
- Speech and Language Disorders as a result of brain damage.
- Swallowing Disorders
A commonly used idiom “Ignorance is a bliss”, is not always a bliss. A sign or symptom that instigates the probability of a difficulty coming up in terms of speech, language, hearing and swallowing should be marked upon immediately.
We wouldn’t label the person as one who has a disease; probably a person who has a difficulty which can be over-comed or maximised in the most effective way possible. A Professional dealing with communication disorders is not a teacher, but someone who can help you communicate better.
Like Yehuda Berg said, ” Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can use to choose this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.”
Stay tuned for the next post. 🙂