It is easy to have misconceptions of what speech therapy is all about. It certainly has changed a lot since its inception in the 18th century. It started out with a focus on elocution and a beginning understanding that people had communication disorders. Then during WWII, speech-language pathologists (SLPs) began emphasizing brain processes that they saw in veterans, like those with language disorders (aphasia). Most recently, our field added a focus on social language and autism.
SLPs typically choose to either be school therapists or medical therapists. School therapists work with children from infancy to young adulthood and medical speech therapists work in hospitals, clinics, and skilled nursing facilities helping adults. The skills that SLPs are required to know are vast, they work on voice, language expression and reception, speech/articulation, writing and reading, swallowing, fluency/stuttering, hearing disorders, cognition, pragmatics/social language, and more.
One thing that most people think of when they hear "speech therapist" is therapy for articulation, like the "r" sound. SLPs are experts in this, but it is just one of many areas we tackle and it is more complicated than it sounds. We were impressed with Peachie Speechie's video on her speech therapy for the "r" sound. This is just one aspect of her "r" therapy, the physiological understanding of how to elicit an "r" sound.