How Technology is Changing the Field of Speech-Language Pathology

how technology is changing the field of speech-language pathology

Those majoring in pre-speech-language pathology may be surprised to discover they are entering a field that is increasingly defined by technology. 

This shift became visible during the pandemic, when in-person speech therapy was largely, by necessity, replaced by sessions delivered via telemedicine. But how speech therapy appointments are facilitated represents just one way in which technology is changing the field of speech-language pathology. 

Indeed, a larger technological transformation, which predates the pandemic, is reshaping the field and will continue to do so in years to come. Here are some important ways in which technology is changing the profession:

  • Greater adoption of online speech therapy. As mentioned above, the move from traditional in-person sessions to online speech therapy became commonplace during the pandemic. What is especially interesting about this evolution is that research confirms that online speech therapy is just as effective as in-person therapy. While the real advantages of live human interaction and feedback are unlikely to be totally supplanted by telemedicine, online speech therapy promises to be used more frequently in years to come. 
  • Device-based interactive tools for patients. Tablets, smartphones and interactive apps have become commonplace in speech therapy sessions, expanding the array of resources speech-language pathologists have at their disposal to engage and help their clients. As digital natives who are already comfortable with technology, children typically respond well to these tools. They also can use them outside of sessions—either by themselves or with parents or family members—to learn and practice, further accelerating their progress.
  • The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality. Just as it has impacted other fields, AI has infiltrated speech-language pathology, informing the creation of “smarter” apps and tools, helping with documentation and making it easier for speech-language pathologists to identify speech disorders earlier. Virtual reality has not yet become a regular feature of speech therapy, and not all believe the day will come when it will. But as the virtual reality technology improves and its use becomes more widespread, that day may come sooner than later. 

Together, these trends are recasting speech-language pathology as an increasingly technology-defined field that will place speech-language pathologists at the leading edge of innovation.

Become part of the future of speech therapy by pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Pre-Speech-Language Pathology from Carlow University. You will train to prevent, assess, and treat communication and swallowing disorders within a learning environment comprised of faculty, clinical educators and students from several different professions. You will also gain the knowledge and skills you need to enter into professional practice as a licensed, certified speech-language pathologist working in any clinical environment.