Speech-language pathologists (SLPs), also called speech therapists, are university-trained professionals who can assess, diagnose and provide intervention for communication and swallowing disorders in both children and adults. Speech-Language Pathologists maintain licencing within their province, which is the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario (CASLPO).
• Speech or articulation disorders (Saying certain sounds and putting sounds together for words) • Delay in language development (Using words to communicate and share thoughts with others) • Literacy (reading, writing and spelling skills) • Stuttering (disruption in the smooth rhythm and continuous flow of speech) • Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) • Voice (the quality of sound produced by our vocal cords) • Communication difficulties after a stroke or head injury – Aphasia (difficulties with finding the right words) • Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) • Swallowing difficulties
The duration of treatment depends on various factors including the areas of difficulties and the individual. The Speech-Language Pathologist will complete a thorough assessment and discuss a treatment plan with you.
In the initial session, the Speech-Language Pathologist will conduct an assessment and gather more information about the individual’s areas of difficulty. The speech therapy intervention sessions can consist of the SLP working directly with an individual using certain techniques and incorporating functional activities. And also work collaboratively with their parents/caregivers or conversation partners with strategies to facilitate the development of communication skills.
No, Speech-Language Pathologists can assess and treat an individual without a referral from a doctor.
Children gradually develop their speech and language milestones and use single words by 1-year-old, two-word combinations by 2 years old and three-word phrases by 3 years old to communicate. A Speech-Language Pathologist could provide you with some professional information regarding typical communication milestones and your child’s developmental progress. Makrygianni et al. (2018) and other studies have found that beginning therapy intervention as early as possible corresponds with positive long-term outcomes for many children.
Some children with ASD may have difficulties with social interaction and developing adequate communication skills. Speech-Language Pathologists are trained in strategies that can be used to help a person with ASD communicate within a social setting with their family and peers.
Speech pathologists are trained in providing communication rehabilitation for adults who have difficulties with speaking or understanding language following a stroke or head injury. SLPs can also provide insight and tips to spouses and families on how to communicate efficiently with an individual who is experiencing these difficulties.


Behn, N., Francis, J. J., Power, E., Hatch, E., & Hilari, K. (2020). Communication partner training in traumatic brain injury: a UK survey of Speech and Language Therapists’ clinical practice. Brain Injury, 1-11.

Makrygianni, M. K., Gena, A., Katoudi, S., & Galanis, P. (2018). The effectiveness of applied behaviour analytic interventions for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A meta-analytic study. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders,51, 18–31