Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) work to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders.
Speech disorders occur when a person has difficulty producing speech sounds correctly or fluently (e.g., stuttering is a form of disfluency) or has problems with his or her voice.
Language disorders occur when a person has trouble understanding others (receptive language), or sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings (expressive language). Language disorders may be spoken or written and may involve the form (phonology, morphology, syntax), content (semantics), and/or use (pragmatics) of language in functional and socially appropriate ways.
Social communication disorders occur when a person has trouble with the social use of verbal and nonverbal communication. These disorders may include problems
(a) communicating for social purposes (e.g., greeting, commenting, asking questions)
(b) talking in different ways to suit the listener and setting and
(c) following rules for conversation and story-telling.