Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit introduces students to the profession and practice of speech pathology through a range of learning activities, including exposure to clinicians in the field and guest lecturers from a range of practice settings.

Students will be introduced to the key principles underlying graduate practice in Australia through the Competency-based Occupational Standards for Speech Pathologists (CBOS), Professional Standards for Speech Pathologists in Australia (PSSP). International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) Framework and Speech Pathology Australia Code of Ethics. Students will begin to apply these frameworks within fieldwork observations reflective learning activities, and assessment tasks.

The aim of this unit is to provide students with an introduction to the foundational clinical skills of speech pathology, and to the range of practice areas and settings that speech pathologists work within. A second aim is to provide a scaffolded orientation to the university, library and Placement Services for new students. Communication for professional practice will be a major focus of this early exposure to the profession.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Describe the scope of speech pathology practice, interprofessional practice, and the professional role of Speech Pathologists in local and international contexts (GA5);

LO2 - Describe the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) and its relevance to speech pathology practice (GA5);

LO3 - Reflect upon the importance of communication at individual, professional and societal levels (GA1, GA9);

LO4 - Reflect on your own preferences in communication, learning and personal cultural perspectives as they relate to professional practice (GA4);

LO5 - Demonstrate adherence to professional and ethical expectations by meeting mandatory compliance requirements (GA5)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include:

The speech pathologist as a professional

  • What is a speech pathologist?  
  • Service delivery and the role of speech pathologists across the range of practice areas including; speech, language, voice, fluency, swallowing disorders and multi-modal communication.
  • Speech Pathology Australia 
  • Competency Based Occupational Standards (CBOS) and Competency Assessment in Speech Pathology (COMPASS)
  • The importance of communication to professional practice
  • Introduction to professional communication 
  • Communication in the workplace
  • Inter-professional practice
  • Allied health in the Australian healthcare context
  • Working with other professionals
  • Ethical and professional utilization for fieldwork 
  • Clinical reasoning and evidence-based practice
  • Developing skills for lifelong learning and professional practice
  • Frameworks for reflection
  • Self evaluation
  • Portfolio

The speech pathologist and practice

  • International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF; WHO, 2001); International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health –Child and Youth version (ICF-CY; WHO, 2007)
  • The World Health Organization World Report on Disability
  • Client centred/family centred practice
  • Interaction 
  • The complexities of communication
  • The practicalities of collecting interaction samples
  • Undertaking observation across the lifespan – considerations and practicalities 

The speech pathologist and community

  • Communication as a basic human right
  • Culture and speech pathology practice 
  • Speech pathology in the community: local and international perspectives 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit utilises a blended learning or multimode approach and as such teaching and learning strategies will include face to face and/or pre-recorded lectures, online case-based activities, face to face tutorials and a professional practice experience. A total of 150 hours of focussed learning is expected for this unit. The blended approach to learning offers students multiple modalities in which to engage with content and key competencies and facilitates development of both self-directed and collaborative learning strategies. Online activities allow students to learn content material about the Speech Pathology range of practice areas in a self-directed and interactive way. 

Face to face lectures present cases that illustrate and expand upon the themes from the online activities. Tutorials provide students with the opportunity to develop practical skills that are required for clinical practice, which will be developed further in second year professional practice experiences.

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements.


The quizzes will enable students to demonstrate the acquisition of foundation knowledge about the range of speech pathology practice and the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health.

The purpose of the oral presentation and development of a consumer pamphlet  is to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to investigate an area of speech pathology practice, to describe their understanding of this information in the context of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health, and to use their oral and written communication skills to share findings with their peers and future clients and carers. 

The Observation Plan and Reflection will be submitted following a professional practice experience and will allow students to reflect on the role of a speech pathologist,  culture learning and communication styles, and how these may influence future professional practice.

Completion of the mandatory compliance documentation for the professional practice experience is a  hurdle task for this unit.

The purpose of completing the mandatory compliance documentation is to:

1.     ensure that students understand their responsibilities to clients, organisations and the University with regards to mandatory preparation for professional practice experiences

2.     ensure that all requirements are met to enable completion of the professional practice experience for this unit.

3.     orient students to Placement Services, in preparation for future professional practice experiences

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes


Students demonstrate factual knowledge of course 

material primarily based on the Speech pathology 

Australia range of practice areas.




Oral Presentation and consumer pamphlet 

Students will complete an oral presentation regarding communication with a focus on one of the Speech Pathology Australia range of practice

areas (ROPA) of speech, language, voice, fluency, swallowing,

and multimodal communication.

Students will develop a consumer pamphlet relating to the ROPA to accompany the oral presentation 



GA1,GA5, GA9

Observation Plan and Reflection  

Students will undertake an observational professional practice experience and write a post-observation reflection, including development of personal learning goals for Speech pathology.


LO3, LO4

GA1,GA5, GA9

Mandatory Compliance Documentation 

Students will satisfactorily complete and submit State-based documentation required for placement

purposes .




Representative texts and references

Andre, K., & Heartfield, M. (2011). Nursing and midwifery portfolios: Evidence of continuing competence (2nd ed.).  Elsevier Australia.

Body, R., & McAllister, L. (2009). Ethics in speech and language therapy. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. 

Bunning, K. (2004). Speech and language therapy intervention: frameworks and processes. London: Whurr Publishers.

Damico, J., Muller, N., & Ball, M. (Eds.). (2010). The handbook of language and speech disorders. : Wiley-Blackwell. 

Higgs, J., Aijawi, R., McAllister, L., Franziska, T., & Loftus, S. (2012). Communicating in the health sciences (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press.

Higgs, J., Richardson, B., & Dahlgren, M. (2004). Developing practice knowledge for health professionals. Butterworth-Heinemann.

McAllister, L. Lincoln, M. (2004). Clinical education in speech-language pathology. (Methods in speech and language pathology series.) Whurr.

Speech Pathology Australia. (2011). Competency-based Occupational Standards for Speech Pathologists (CBOS): Entry Level. Retrieved from SPA 19 February 2021, 

Speech Pathology Australia Competency Based Standards (CBOS)

Speech Pathology Australia. (2020). Code of ethics: Speech Pathology Australia Code of Ethics

Speech Pathology Australia (2020). Professional Standards for Speech Pathologists in Australia. Retrieved from:

Stagnitti, K., Schoo, A., & Welch, D. (Eds). (2010)Clinical and fieldwork placement in the health professions. : Oxford University Press

Stedman, T. L. (2011, 2012c). Stedman’s medical dictionary for the health professions and nursing (7th ed.). : Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins.

World Health Organization. (2001): International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health

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