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Communication Disorders


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  • 1. For Those Considering a Career in Communication Sciences and Disorders Howard Goldstein, Ph.D., CCC-SLP Donald M. Baer Professor & Chair Dept. of Communication Disorders Florida State University [email_address]
  • 2. Communication Sciences & Disorders
    • Of all the gifts bestowed upon humanity, the ability to communicate is one of the most important.
    • An estimated 1 in 6 individuals will suffer from significant communication impairment in their life time.
    • The discipline is responsible for generating scientific knowledge and educating individuals to serve people with speech, language, hearing, and swallowing impairments.
  • 3.
    • Who are audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists?
    • They evaluate, treat, and conduct research into human communication and its disorders.
    • They work in schools, hospitals, businesses, private practice, universities, research laboratories, and government agencies,
    • with infants and children, with adolescents and adults, and with older people.
  • 4. Audiology
    • Study of hearing, hearing disorders, and habilitation/rehabilitation for individuals with hearing loss.
    • It encompasses the study of how the hearing mechanism works;
    • the assessment of hearing;
    • hearing and listening disorders; and
    • the rehabilitation of individuals who have hearing loss
  • 5. Services Audiologists Provide
    • Testing and diagnosing hearing and balance disorders in infants, children, and adults
    • Educating on the prevention of hearing loss
    • Selecting, fitting, and dispensing hearing aids and assistive listening, alerting, and captioning devices
    • Participating in hearing conservation programs to prevent workplace-related and recreational hearing loss due to noise
    • Participating in screening programs for infants, children, and adults
    • Consulting to federal, state, and local agencies on reducing community noise
    • Conducting research into environmental influences on hearing, new testing methods, and new rehabilitative devices such as cochlear implants
    • Working with adults and children who need aural rehabilitation such as auditory training and speechreading
  • 6. Market Trends Future Outlook: Audiology
    • Audiology will be among the hottest professions in the country in the next decade, according to recent employment growth projections in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' (2002-2003) Occupational Outlook Handbook .
    • The profession ranked among the top 30 --out of 700-- fastest growing occupations over the next decade, with the number of audiology positions expected to climb by 45% between 2000 and 2010.
  • 7. What does an audiologist earn?
    • Earnings: The salaries of audiologists depend on their educational background, experience, work setting, and geographical location.
    • In 2004, the median salary for ASHA-certified audiologists with 1-3 years of experience was $45,000 per year.
    • Median salary for those with a PhD earned over $82,600 a year.
    • Employee benefits such as insurance, leave, and professional development are usually very competitive.
  • 8. Speech, Language, & Swallowing Professionals
    • Language is our most human characteristic. It is essential to learning, working, and enjoying family life and friendships. There are many ways to express language. Speaking, using sign language, writing, and using computerized communication devices are some of the most common ones.
    • Professionals educated to assess speech and language development and to treat language and speech disorders are speech-language pathologists (sometimes informally referred to as speech therapists). SLPs also can help people with swallowing disorders.
  • 9.   What is a speech-language pathologist?
    • Treat speech, language, and swallowing disorders in individuals of all ages, from infants to the elderly.
    • Evaluate and diagnose speech, language, and swallowing disorders.
    • Train future professionals in colleges and universities.
    • Manage agencies, clinics, or private practices.
    • Engage in research to enhance knowledge about human communication processes.
    • Develop new methods and equipment to evaluate problems.
    • Establish more effective treatments.
    • Investigate behavioral patterns associated with communication disorders.
    • Visit the ASHA web site http:// for a comprehensive description of speech-language pathology.
  • 10. Areas of Specialization at FSU
    • Child Language and Literacy Disorders
    • Mental Retardation & Autism
    • Aphasia, Traumatic Brain Injury, Dementia
    • Stuttering
    • Phonological Disorders
    • Augmentative & Alternative Communication
    • Dysphagia (Swallowing Disorders)
    • Voice Disorders
    • Deaf & Hard of Hearing
  • 11. Future Outlook: Speech-Language Pathology
    • Speech-language pathology will be among the hottest professions in the country in the next decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2005)
    • The Occupational Outlook Handbook projects a 52% in job openings for SLPs due to growth and net replacements between 2002 and 2012, with total employment of SLPs rising from 94,000 to 120,000.
    • The expanding population of older citizens is prone to medical conditions that result in speech, language, hearing, and swallowing problems. Consequently, the demand for SLPs should continue to rise as growth in the number of individuals with disabilities or limited function will spur demand for therapy services among the fastest growing age ranges (young and elderly individuals).
  • 12. What does a speech-language pathologist earn?
    • The salaries of speech-language pathologists depend on their educational background, specialty, experience, work setting, and geographical location.
    • In 2003, the median salary for ASHA-certified speech-language pathologists was $45,000-$52,600 per year.
    • Those in administration may earn upwards of $64,000.
    • Employee benefits such as insurance, leave, and professional development are usually very competitive.
  • 13. What is a speech, language, and hearing scientist?
    • Develop strategies for expanding the knowledge base in their field.
    • Investigate the biological, physical, and physiological processes of communication.
    • Explore the impact of psychological, social, and other factors on communication disorders.
    • Develop evidence-based methods for diagnosing and treating individuals with speech, voice, language, and hearing problems.
    • Collaborate with related professionals (such as engineers, physicians, dentists, psychologists, and educators).
    • Train future professionals and scientists in colleges and universities.
    • Conduct research at or consult with universities, hospitals, government health agencies, and industries.
  • 14. Academic Preparation
    • Audiology (Doctoral degree only)-AuD or PhD
      • Undergraduate degree in Communication Sciences
      • Anatomy & physiology, basic science, math, auditory processes, balance, normal and abnormal communication development
      • Auditory assessment, treatment (hearing aids & hearing appliances), aural rehabilitation (speech reading, sign), speech production
      • Certificate of Clinical Competence
        • Doctoral degree
        • Extensive supervised clinical experience
        • Pass written exam
  • 15. Academic Preparation
    • Speech-Language Pathologist (Graduate), MS or MA
    • Undergraduate degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders
      • Linguistics, phonetics, anatomy & physiology, psychology, human development, speech & hearing science, normal and abnormal communication development
    • Graduate degree
      • Disorders of speech, language, swallowing, treatment of speech, language, swallowing, clinical and research experiences
    • Certificate of Clinical Competence
      • Graduate degree
      • 375 hours of supervised clinical experience
      • 36-week postgraduate clinical fellowship
      • Pass written exam
  • 16. FSU Program in Communication Sciences & Disorders
    • Bachelor of science (limited entry; 47 credits)
    • Master of science (MS) (60 credits),
    • Advanced master (AM), and
    • Doctor of philosophy (PhD) degrees.
    • All graduate degree curricula provide advanced study in speech-language pathology for students preparing for professional careers in clinical, research, and teaching environments.
    • Graduate degrees are required to gain clinical certification and professional licenses as speech-language pathologists.
  • 17. The Undergraduate Curriculum
    • Required coursework designed to be completed in four semesters.
    • Coursework emphasizes the scientific and developmental issues of communication.
      • Introduction to Communication Science
      • Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech and Hearing Mechanism
      • Neurological Bases of Communication
      • Speech and Language Development
      • Clinical and Research Methods
      • Phonetics
    • Other courses introduce a variety of communication impairments. These required courses provide undergraduates with a current and broad knowledge base in the field of communication sciences and disorders .
  • 18. The Masters Curriculum
    • developmental communication disorders,
    • structure-based communication disorders,
    • neurology-based communication disorders,
    • professional (clinical and research) tools
    • more specialized, advanced coursework.
    • New courses are introduced to reflect changes in the scope and practice of speech-language pathologists.
    • 60 credit program (23 clinical practica, 16 required courses, 21 advanced electives, passing score on national exam).
    A student's undergraduate background influences the time required to complete the graduate degree. Students obtaining master's degrees (non thesis option) from FSU generally graduate from the program in six academic semesters, which includes a semester of off campus internship.
  • 19. Doctoral Curriculum
    • Research Methods (min=15 credits)
    • Communication Processes in Normal and Disordered Populations (min=9 credits)
    • Related Specialization area (min=12 credits).
    • Doctoral students must demonstrate teaching abilities (min=3 credits of Supervised Teaching ).
    • Students also must demonstrate research skills (3-5 credits of Supervised Research ).
    • Preliminary exam assesses student ability to perform tasks expected of individuals with doctoral degrees, e.g., writing critiques of articles submitted for publication, preparing a research report or a grant application.
    • Doctoral Dissertation (min=24 credits)