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Communication Sciences is a degree category that consists of the following common degrees:
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Communicative disorders are persistent disorders related to language and speech, the causes of which include hearing loss, neurological issues, brain injury, vocal cord injury, autism, intellectual disability, drug abuse, physical impairments such as cleft lip or palate, emotional or psychiatric disorders, and developmental disorders.
Language disorder is characterized by ongoing difficulties in the acquisition and use of spoken, written, or sign language due to deficits such as limited vocabulary, limited ability to form sentences, and limited capacity to use language to communicate at a level that is normal for one’s age. Social or ‘pragmatic’ communication disorder involves difficulties in the social use of verbal and nonverbal communication, in understanding normal rules of conversation and nonliteral meanings of language. Speech disorders include stuttering, problems forming and combining sounds, and difficulties with the quality, pitch, and loudness of the voice.
The foundations of degree programs in communicative disorders lie in the basic nature of human communication – its biological, physical, social, and linguistic aspects. Students of the discipline study each of these aspects, which together make up the science behind communication problems. They learn how to recognize these problems and how to treat them.
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If you've ever needed to have your hearing tested, then you've probably had the pleasure of meeting an audiologist. Audio’ refers to ‘hear’ and ‘logy’ to ‘the study of’. Audiology is the study of hearing - in medical terms it is the branch of science dedicated to the study of hearing, balance and any associated disorders. Audiologists are specialized doctors that are trained to measure hearing ability and function, and to provide rehabilitation to improve their patient's quality of life.
Since 2012, all new audiologists need to have a Doctor of Audiology Degree (Au.D) and state licensing in order to work in the field and to establish a private practice.
The academic curriculum for Audiologists is extensive, and can include classes such as:
Genetics and Hearing Loss
Psychoacoustics and Theories of Hearing
Speech Science and Perception
Electro-Acoustics, Instrumentation & Calibration
Rehabilitative Audiology and Counseling
Vestibular Systems and Disorders
Cochlear Implants and Hearing Assistance Technologies
Central Auditory Processing
Embryology and Genetics
Anatomy and Physiology of the Hearing and Vestibular Mechanisms
Pharmacology for Audiology
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Speech-language pathology (SLP) is the study and treatment of a wide range of speaking and swallowing disorders, usually caused by developmental delays, autism, traumatic brain injury, stroke, hearing loss, Parkinson’s, cleft palate, or injuries to the mouth and throat.
Speech-language pathologists are the allied health professionals who evaluate and diagnose people with these disorders and help them improve their communication skills. Their work involves creating treatment plans for conditions such as stuttering, training patients to produce certain sounds, and teaching them to use assistive communication devices.
SLP degree programs consist of coursework, research experiences, and real-world clinical experiences.