Speech Pathologist vs Speech Therapist

Updated on July 07, 2011
L.M. asks from Overland Park, KS
9 answers

OK, My son is receiving "therapy" from Infant Toddler Services. But it seems the "Specialist" is working with me rather than with my son, which is great on one hand, but exhausting to say the least. Every other week someone else comes to "evaluate" my son to find what can be worked on.. and It is ok, but too much information is leaving me drained at the end of each session, and its overwhelming me "just a tad".

I need someone to work WITH my son and give me feedback and advice.. I know there are things I can do and I do them already with my son (two and a half years old) and I know boys and girls are different and kids grow at their own pace.

What is the difference (I think I know the answer) between a Speech Pathologist and a Speech Therapist?

I was really hoping to see a Therapist, not an Analyst. How do I go about getting Speech Therapist - to work with my son - from them without offending anyone? I have spoken to a few moms and they are all in the same boat.. getting advice and home work and not much else.

Thanks for your answers!

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So What Happened?

All fantastic feedback thanks guys! I have not thought about it this way. Yes as a two and a half year old I can imagine the short attention span and irritability at the end of each session. And yes I am ultimately the one who spends most of my time with him.... Nothing in life is ever easy.. I mean if it was, we would all be bored to tears.

I need to be less selfish and think about what is best for HIM.

Thanks again and love to you all.

More Answers



answers from Gainesville on

Speech Pathologist, Speech Therapist-same thing. Their exact title is Speech-Language Pathologist. They also are called speech therapist. They have a masters or doctorate in speech pathology. A few states employe SLP assistants. But they can not evaluate and they can not work without the direct supervision of an SLP.

You are getting worked with a lot because (presumably) you/dad are the ones with him the most. You have to be knowledgeable about how you can help him develop his speech and language skills within whatever limitations/concerns he has at this time. It is essential that you understand what is going on with him and how you can best address this especially given his age. I think he's around 2.5 right? Children that age have extremely short attention spans for therapy and can't be drilled for long periods. If you are drained and overwhelmed imagine what he would be feeling if they tried to do that with him in a session. It would never work and he'd never make any progress. But if you know how to help him (since you are with him all the time) you can incorporate the strategies they are teaching you into your everyday routines.

He is probably being evaluated often because of the program he is in. It's probably a situation where if they aren't making progress or setting new goals often he will be out of the program.

If you have concerns, then you really need to address those with your son's therapist. He/she will be able to best answer your questions about your son's plan of care and therapy goals.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Dori is correct about the differences, or lack thereof, of pathologist/therapist. The therapists will have a degree in Speech Language Pathology. However, you may want to check the credentials of the therapist you're working with. The state has much lower guidelines for their therapists than private agencies. We've had/have lots of therapies for our ds, including speech, and we decided to stay as far away as possible for the public programs. The quality (and quantity) is much better if you go to a private therapist. Unfortunately, it costs more, and depending on insurance, the child may/may not be eligible due to your policy. It's a shame. We've had to sacrifice a lot, but it's worth it. When you're in the public programs, the government is the therapists boss. When you're in a private program, YOU'RE the boss. I'm so sorry for your bad experience with speech therapy. Hopefully you'll find a diamond in the rough! Best of luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

I just went through this about a year ago and completely understand where you're coming from. My first speech therapist explained to me that she would try to work with my son, but that she wanted to give me ideas on what I could do to help him as well. She said that it was mostly that he was a little too young to really focus his attention on speech therapy. Most of what she would be doing would be modeling during play. I always sat there and thought about how everything she was telling me to do was what I already did. But that was kind of nice too, because at least I knew I was doing the right things. Unfortunately, we never really had much luck making progress with a once a week speech therapy session. I don't know what sort of troubles with speech your son has, but mine was a speech delay. He's three now and is basically a year behind in his speech. The most progress we've seen from him has been from time and preschool. We got him enrolled in the school district's special ed. preschool with a speech therapist in his classroom and it has been really good for him. Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I used to work in an early intervention center. We had center-based classes in addition to home based services. You might check to see if that is an option. If he goes into a class, the teacher will know his therapy plan and incorporate it into class in songs, games, toys, snack time, etc.
You may need time to assimilate what they have told you and put it in place before they give you more to do. Tell them you feel overwhelmed by the way it is currently going and see what options there are.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

A Speech Therapist and Pathologist are the same thing. :o) I would be very up front with the therapist about how you are feeling, and ask for more consistency, so that your son is seeing the same person each time. Ask them to help you narrow down what is most important to work on first, and then they can guide you with new information as you go along and are ready for more. You did not say what your son's issues are, so it's difficult to know why they are focusing more on you at the moment. It may depend on how they are reimbursed for their services that determines how much direct "therapy" he can receive. You need to ask them to explain this to you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

My son received speech therapy, from a Speech Pathologist.
An actual Master's Degree'd woman, in Speech Pathology.

They worked with my son, as well as providing me with much information and ways to assist my son in everyday life.

Below is a definition of the differences between a Speech Therapist and a SLP (speech language Pathologist):

"In the United States quite a large proportion of school Speech Therapists do not have their CCC (or C's as they are usually called) - though MOST (more than 70%) do.

Usually, the title "Speech Therapist" in the US implies that the person is NOT a CCC-SLP. But you do need to check by asking the Speech Therapist what her qualifications are. Some SLPs actually call themselves "speech therapists"! Confusing, isn't it?

CCC stands for Certificate of Clinical Competency. If an SLP has these initials after his or her name, they have (1) received a masters degree in Speech/Language Pathology (2) passed a national exam in speech/language pathology, (3) completed a 9 month clinical fellowship year under a qualified supervisor.

Once you have received your C's, you have to pay an annual fee to renew. As well you are required by ASHA to attain 30 hours of continuing education units (CEUs) every 3 years in order to maintain CCC status. The practice of continuing education has long been recommended by ASHA, but not actually required, until January 2005.

In order to receive an ACE award, you must attend 70 clock hours of continuing education over a 36 month period. If an SLP does not have an ACE award, it does not mean that that person has not been earning CEUs.

In some states of the USA, SLPs are also required to be licensed. For example in Pennsylvania SLPs working in the public school system have to maintain state licensure and this requires 20 hours of continuing education every 2 years."

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I know how you feel, I felt very overwhelmed and often guilty thinking I was not "doing enough" for my son. My son did not enjoy his speech therapy session a great deal of the time and often would cry and demand that she leave. So really, I had to work with him because he really didn't like the idea of someone coming into his home and making him do what they wanted. But yes, they really should be working WITH your son at this point, even if its for just part of the time. I think you need to express your concerns and find out why they aren't doing that. If your son is almost 3 he may qualify for the town's preschool. The difference for my son was like night and day. And the results show.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

When we started speech therapy it was explained to me that they would work with my so but also give me instructions on things to do to help him since I am with him most and 1 hour week isn't enough. It sounds like they are doing the same with you only they didn't explain it to you.



answers from Kansas City on

Your question brings back a lot of memories for me. My son (now 12) was recieving ITS and his speech therapist came once a week. She was a very nice older lady, but did exactly what you are describing. In fact, after 6 months she decided she'd done all she could and wanted to stop therapy all together (he stil wasn't talking!!!). I insisted that we continue at least once a month. Later after being contacted by the ITS people and telling them what was going on they sent a different therapist and the older lady was reprimanded. I contacted Children's Mercy Hospital after my son was in the 3 year old pre-school program with the Olathe School District. At first the hospital people told me they wouldn't be able to help because he was getting services at school, but I argued with them and they finally agreed to test him. We did 6 months of therapy with Children's Mercy South, 1 hour twice a week in there office and it made all the difference in the world. Mom is not in the room during the sessions, you watch and listen through a mirror.

I would suggest contacting the person coordinating your services at ITS and express your concerns. Perhaps a change of therapist is in order.

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