Speech-language pathology assistants (SLPAs) undergo academic and on-the-job training. These assistants have been available to people since the 1970s. The assistants have to be able to work with individuals from all ages and backgrounds. They help to administer hearing, speech, and language evaluations and tests, and help to examine the patients. SPLAs assist in developing and implementing treatment plans for stuttering, delayed language, or voice problems. They also observe and document the progress and treatment of the patient and monitor the operation of equipment and record the use of this equipment. They can also transport patients to and from treatment areas, lift and transfer them according to positioning requirements, and secure them into or onto therapy equipment. They also have to comply with regulations and requirements set forth for SLPAs. Though these assistants have a wide range of responsibilities, they also have to be aware of certain tasks that they are not allowed to perform or develop, and they must modify any treatment plan given to the patient. They are not allowed to perform standardized diagnostic tests or interpret the test results. They are also not allowed to screen or diagnose the patients or participate in parent conferences or case conferences. SLPAs cannot discharge or make referrals for patients. Most importantly, they cannot represent themselves as a speech-language pathologist. SLPAs need to have at least an associate's degree from a technical training program. This career can be a very challenging and stimulating job. However, the gratification one feels from helping others far outweighs any challenges they may face.
Speech-Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA) Tasks
- Transport patients to and from treatment areas, lift and transfer them according to positioning requirements, secure into or onto therapy equipment.
- Monitor operation of equipment and record use of equipment.
- Assist in administering hearing or speech and language evaluations, tests and examinations to patients.
- Observe and document the progress of treatment.
- Assist in developing and implementing treatment plans for stuttering, delayed language, or voice problems.