• Sarah McKim Thomas

Day #28: AAC Awareness Month - Titles

I've personally never been completely comfortable with the title "speech-language pathologist."

First, there's the "speech" part. I sometimes work on speech skills, but honestly for the majority of my clients I don't. If I do, it's generally not very high on the priority list.

The "language" part is fine -- I work on some sort of language skills with most if not all of my clients. But sometimes I work on communication skills that don't depend on language. So where is that reflected in the title?

But then there's "pathologist." Waaaaay too medical-sounding and negative for my taste. It implies that my job is to work with people who have something wrong with them. In a very broad sense, some would say that's technically an accurate statement. But it's not a very good way to frame the therapy and support that I provide.

So what's the alternative? I've always liked using the word "communication" to describe the skills and abilities that I teach and support. There's more to communication than speech and language, after all.

In the end, I settle with taking what I'm given, job-title-wise, but describe myself as different things in everyday conversation. "Speech-language therapist" being the most common, probably. It's pretty pedantic of me to include the "language" part every time, but I view what I do as so much more than correcting speech sound errors, which is what I'm afraid "speech therapist" means to most people when they hear it.

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