Important Qualities of an SLP
Compassion. Speech-language pathologists work with people who are often frustrated by their difficulties. Speech-language pathologists must be able to support emotionally demanding patients and their families.
Critical-thinking skills. Speech-language pathologists must be able to adjust their treatment plans as needed, finding alternative ways to help their patients.
Detail oriented. The work of speech-language pathologists requires intense concentration to listen to what patients are able to say and to help them improve their speech.
Listening skills. Speech-language pathologists must listen to a patient’s symptoms and problems to decide on a course of treatment.
Patience. Speech-language pathologists may work with people who need more time and attention.
Speaking skills. Speech-language pathologists need to communicate test results, diagnoses, and proposed treatments in a way that patients and their families can understand.
Employment of speech-language pathologists is expected to grow by 23 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations.
As the large baby-boom population grows older, there will be more instances of health conditions that cause speech or language impairments, such as strokes and hearing loss. These increases are expected to add to the number of speech and language disorders in the population and require more speech-language pathologists to treat these patients.
Increased awareness of speech and language disorders, such as stuttering, in younger children should also lead to a need for more speech-language pathologists who specialize in treating that age group.
In addition, medical advances are improving the survival rate of premature infants and victims of trauma and strokes, many of whom need help from speech-language pathologists.