SLP vs. SLT – What’s the difference?
The short answer is: nothing.
SLP (Speech-Language Pathologist) and SLT (Speech-Language Therapist) are both titles that are given to us as individuals who are qualified to help people who have a communication disorder or delay.
In countries such as South Africa and the United Kingdom, where I am registered to practise, we lawfully and ethically hold the title of “Speech-Language Therapist” as set out by the national health professions council. Perhaps countries like the United States of America and Australia have captured a better depiction of what we do, by using the title “Speech-Language Pathologist”. The term “pathologist” highlights our intensive training and clinical expertise in identifying, assessing and treating pathologies related to communication.
Even then, however, the label “Speech-Language Pathologist” does not quite illustrate the totality of our scope of practice. Yes, we work with speech (eg. articulation, voice, fluency) and language (eg. comprehension, expression), but we are also the experts when it comes to difficulties related to literacy, swallowing and social interaction, not to mention cognitive-linguistic disorders.
Perhaps in the future we could coin a more descriptive title, but, as you can see, that would also come with its own challenges: