The American Speech-Language and Hearing Association highlighted an important omission in the Wall Street Journal’s article: New Speech-Therapy Tools Makes Practicing at Home Easier. Tools and technology are meant to supplement speech therapy; they are not intended to be a substitute for an actual speech therapist. I have personally met representatives from most of the companies mentioned in the article and none of them suggested that their products were a substitute for a speech pathologist. Rather, they explained how licensed and trained therapists can use the tools to help enhance their clients’ therapy experience.
Here at Worldwide Speech where we embrace the advances technology has given us, we also recognize there is no substitute for a speech pathologist. Trained therapists go beyond simply teaching new speech and language skills and behaviors, they also know how to make those new skills and behaviors stick. We don’t just teach you the /r/ sound, we make sure you are using the sound successfully for the rest of your life. We don’t just teach you new words, we show you how and when to use those new words. Think about it this way, you can learn to play a song or two on the piano, that doesn’t mean you know how to play the piano. Any new skill requires time and practice to make you an expert.
Speech pathologists want our clients to succeed and few would disregard new technology just for the sake of disregarding something new. This article rightly upset and offended the American Speech-Language and Hearing association as well as hard working speech pathologists throughout the country, but we are not the ones getting hurt by this glaring omission. Countless parents will think they have just found the magic cure and run out and spend a lot of money on a product that on its own simply cannot provide their children with the help that they truly need.