An individual who has a graduate degree (master’s or doctorate) in speech-language pathology. After successful completion of the CFY (clinical fellowship year), a speech pathologist may work behaviorally with a wide variety of conditions that affect breathing, voice, and swallowing.
Some speech pathologists are generalists, potentially working within the same day with: a child whose speech is not clear; a person who is trying to recover clear speech after a stroke; a singer with vocal nodules; and an elderly person who is aspirating when she swallows. A speech pathologist’s activities may be divided between evaluation (including by use of the videofluoroscopic swallowing study or videostroboscopy to assess the voice) and therapy or treatment – teaching and coaching the patient in ways that improve their voice, breathing, and swallowing.
At our practice, our speech pathologist is singing voice qualified, working nearly exclusively with voice and breathing disorders. Adjunct speech pathologists from Good Samaritan Hospital are typically involved with our patients who have swallowing disorders.