National Speech Pathologist Day in the United States Date in the current year: May 18, 2024

National Speech Pathologist Day in the United States May 18 is National Speech Pathologist Day. This professional holiday was created to recognize healthcare professionals who specialize in the treatment of communication, cognitive-communication, voice, and swallowing disorders.

Speech pathologists, also known as speech–language pathologists (SLPs), speech and language therapists or speech therapists, are clinicians who specialize in the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of a wide range of speech, language, and swallowing disorders. Since such disorders can result from a variety of causes, SLPs often work closely with audiologists, optometrists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, rehabilitation psychologists, and other health professionals.

There is a common misconception that SLPs specialize exclusively in the treatment of articulation disorders and stutter. In reality, however, speech–language pathology is concerned with a broad scope of issues involved in communication. SLPs provide expertise and services in multiple areas, which include speech, language, cognitive aspects of communication, augmentative and alternative communication, voice, swallowing, and sensory awareness related to swallowing or communication.

Speech–language pathology started to emerge in the 17th century, but its active development in the United States began in the early 1920s, when soldiers returned home from World War I. Many of those who had suffered traumatic brain injuries during the war developed language difficulties and needed professional help. In 1925, the American Academy of Speech Correction (now the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, ASHA) was established to promote “scientific, organized work in the field of speech correction”).

To work as a speech pathologist in the United States, one must hold a master’s degree in speech–language pathology / communicative disorders from a university with regional accreditation and a program accredited by the ASHA, complete 400 clinical hours, pass multiple comprehensive exams, and receive a state license and national certification.

There were over 145,000 speech therapists employed in the United States in 2016, and their number is projected to grow to 171,000 by 2026. Most SLPs are employed by schools, offices, and hospitals. They work with people of different ages, from newborns to older adults, treating speech and language disorders that develop as a primary problem or as a result of another condition, such as stroke, autism spectrum disorder, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, etc.

National Speech Pathologist Day, also known as National SLP Day, has been celebrated in the United States every May 18 since 2010. It was established to highlight the important role that speech–language pathologists play in healthcare and their contribution to the treatment of many disorders and conditions.

Some other countries also have professional observances dedicated to speech therapists. For example, an unofficial Speech Pathologist Day is celebrated in Russia and some Russian-speaking countries on November 14.

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National Speech Pathologist Day in the United States, National SLP Day, professional holidays, holidays in the United States