Speech and Language Therapy focuses on communication, which can be defined as one of the most basic human needs allowing participation in life, giving a sense of belonging and providing a means for getting needs met (Mayhew et al. 2001). It looks at the different aspects of communication such as speech (how we produce sounds) language (what we understand and how we use words in sentences), fluency (the ease at which we speak), voice (the quality of the sound produced) and how we use language socially to communicate. It also encompasses swallowing and feeding difficulties.
If we examine communication, we see that we do not only use speech to communicate but we may also use other means such as gesture, pictures, writing, computer technology, body language, and eye contact in order to get our message across. Therefore speech and language therapy looks at the range of possibilities for the person to communicate in different situations. It examines the skills the person has, the opportunities they have to communicate and the barriers that exist that prevent them from getting their needs met.