The rapid growth of technology has affected basically every industry in the world, and speech pathology is no exception. Speech-Language Pathologists jobs have transformed over the years with new features and capabilities brought on by advanced technology. Before we discuss how technology has changed their job, let’s start by explaining what a speech-language pathologist ultimately does in their position.
A Speech-Language Pathologist is someone who is qualified to evaluate, diagnose and treat a broad range of communication sciences and disorders in patients. A Speech-Language pathologist can work in schools, healthcare facilities, or as in-home care consultants for their patients.
Speech-Language Pathologists treat children and adults with a variety of communication sciences and disorders including speech sounds, language, fluency, stuttering, social communication, feeding, and swallowing. To become a Speech-Language Pathologist, there are many qualifications a person must meet. The most common are to complete an Undergraduate program in Communication Sciences and Disorders (or similar), and pursue a Master’s Degree in Science in Speech-Language Pathology. Most positions also require a post-graduate fellowship, completion of a passed national exam, and a State Licensure.
Over the last decade or so, innovations in technology have helped many Speech-Language Pathologists to enhance their support to children and adult patients with speech, language, and hearing disorders. Let’s look at 5 ways technology supports Speech-Language Pathologists in their job.
In recent years, we have seen an increase in virtual therapy. Virtual therapy is quickly becoming an alternative to standard in-office therapy sessions around the world. For Speech-Language Pathologists, conducting a therapy session via Zoom, or another video communication app, is extremely effective. It allows parents to attend their child’s sessions, having the ability to record sessions, and fit more conveniently into patient’s busy lives. Top agencies such as Optima Speech Therapy incorporate these types of technologies into their business models.
According to the Assistive Technology Industry Association, Assistive Technology is defined as products, equipment, or systems that enhance learning, working, and daily living for people with disabilities. Throughout the years, there have been many digitally interactive apps and games created to help children learn and improve their speech. Here are 9 of the Best Speech Therapy Apps of 2022.
There have also been a number of applications and softwares that have been developed to allow users to interact with computers and other digital devices easier. Voiceitt, is a software-based solution that integrates with any smartphone, computer, or tablet. The software is trained to translate any hard to interpret pronunciations into clear speech that can be understood by others.
Computer Aided Treatment:
Computer Aided Treatment has become increasingly popular among stroke patients. There have been computer programs created with high-intensity imagery, words, and sounds to try and stimulate the damaged nerve systems in the brain that have affected the stroke patient’s speech.
One of the most innovative advances in technology for Speech-Language Therapy has been the invention of wearable technology. Two students from the University of Washington, designed a pair of hand gloves that can help translate a deaf person’s sign language into verbal communication to break the barrier between the hearing and hearing-impaired. Most people that can hear with no problem, have never taken the time to learn American Sign Language. This creates a huge barrier for people who are hearing-impaired and are trying to communicate effectively. The sensors on the gloves track the hand movements of the person signing and transmits the data to a computer via Bluetooth. Then, the message is translated into spoken words to allow the two people to effectively communicate.
Smarter Hearing Aids:
Hearing Aids have also seen an increase in innovation over the years. Hearing aids can now filter out more background noise than ever before to focus solely on speech only. They also have bluetooth functionality to connect to smartphones and computers which allow people to change their filter settings and allow audio to be streamed directly to their hearing aids. Nowadays there are devices utilizing bone conduction technology and sensory integration, like Forbrain’s auditory device, to assist children during therapy. This technology transmits sound waves through the skull to stimulate the auditory system, promoting language development and improving speech and language disorders. Forbrain’s altered auditory feedback device uses recent auditory technologies to enhance the communication abilities of children with speech challenges.
Neural Command Technology:
Neural Command Technology is one of the latest advancements in communication sciences and disorders. Neural Command Technology analyzes a person’s brainwaves and interprets gestures and hand movements to determine what a person is thinking. Many already available applications allow users to tap, swipe, or gesture the program triggering it to speak for the user. While this concept still has a great deal of growing to do, the idea is that it will help people with communication challenges communicate more effectively.
Speech-Language Pathologists provide treatment for people all over the world with a hearing, speech, or language disorder. With technology continuing to increase within this industry, it will help Speech-Language Pathologists to better assist their patients. It will also provide people with speech and language challenges to communicate more effectively with others, express their needs and wants, and engage with their communities easier.