Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) play a central role in the screening, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of persons with aphasia. The professional roles and activities in speech-language pathology include clinical/educational services (diagnosis, assessment, planning, and treatment), prevention and advocacy, and education, administration, and research. See ASHA's Scope of Practice in Speech-Language Pathology.
Appropriate roles for SLPs include, but are not limited to,
- providing prevention information to individuals and groups known to be at risk for aphasia
- educating other professionals on the needs of persons with aphasia and the role of SLPs in diagnosing and managing aphasia
- screening individuals who present with language and communication difficulties; determining the need for further assessment and/or referral for other services
- conducting a comprehensive assessment of language and communication
- diagnosing the presence or absence of aphasia
- referring to other professionals to rule out other conditions and to facilitate access to comprehensive services
- developing treatment plans, providing treatment, documenting progress, and determining appropriate dismissal criteria
- counseling persons with aphasia and their families regarding communication-related issues and providing education aimed at preventing further complications relating to aphasia
- consulting and collaborating with other professionals, family members, caregivers, and others to facilitate program development and to provide supervision, evaluation, and/or expert testimony, as appropriate
- remaining informed of research in the area of aphasia and helping advance the knowledge base related to the nature and treatment of aphasia
- advocating for individuals with aphasia and their families at the local, state, and national levels.
As indicated in the Code of Ethics (ASHA, 2010), SLPs who serve this population should be specifically educated and appropriately trained to do so.