Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


ALHT106 Psychology for Allied Health AND SPHY100 Communication and Development Across the Lifespan AND SPHY102 Anatomy and Physiology for Speech Pathology AND SPHY103 Linguistics and Phonetics for Speech Pathology AND SPHY104 Evidence Based Practice in Speech Pathology

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning

Unit rationale, description and aim

This is the second of seven professional practice units. This unit formally introduces students to the professional and occupational competencies required for practice as a speech pathologist, to community engagement, the principles of which are critical to an ACU students’ education, and to disorders of hearing. Students will participate in activities and experiences that will assist with the development of reasoning, communication, life-long learning and professionalism.  


Students will also be introduced to the occupational competencies of assessment, analysis and interpretation, and intervention and planning of speech pathology services. The development of these skills will provide students with the opportunity to progress their identity as a speech pathologist and grow their knowledge of client and family- centered practice. At the conclusion of this unit students are required to demonstrate professional practice competency at an early novice level. 


The unit will include a module on working with specific vulnerable populations that will focus on responding to concerns and strategies to keep ourselves and others safe and support these individuals and groups.   

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 - Communicate effectively with clients, groups and/or communities at an early novice level (GA1, GA2, GA5, GA9)

LO2 - Demonstrate clinical reasoning and learning at an early novice level, considering the ICF (GA6, GA8)

LO3 - Demonstrate professional conduct and ethical behaviour (GA1, GA2, GA5, GA9)

LO4 - Demonstrate an understanding of the importance, policies and strategies for building safe and supportive environments for working with specific vulnerable populations (GA1, GA2, GA5)

Graduate attributes

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

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

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

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

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


Content is provided during class based activities as well as during professional practice activities which may be off-site or in simulated settings

Occupational competencies of Speech Pathology practice

  • Communication 
  • Establishing a therapeutic relationship
  • Types and forms of questioning
  • Listening and responding using verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Understanding a client’s needs and wants
  • Ending a therapeutic relationship 
  • Inter-professional communication and consultation
  • Importance of team
  • Understanding basics of team dynamics
  • Working with team members towards a common goal 
  • Responsible speech pathology practice
  • Documentation expectations and requirements
  • Reporting assessment and treatment data (oral and written)
  • Introduction to medico-legal policies and responsibilities for working with children and young people
  • Clinical reasoning
  • Clinical reasoning in speech pathology
  • Linking clinical reasoning with EBP
  • Reflective practice 
  • Lifelong learning

  • Professionalism
  • Professional conduct and ethical behaviour 
  • Introduction to ethical and medico-legal responsibilities in speech pathology practice 

The Speech Pathologist and practice

  • Taking a case history 
  • Applying the ICF to case history gathering and the assessment process
  • Understanding the case history questions
  • Assessment in speech pathology
  • Types of assessment
  • Standardised / Norm referenced assessment
  • Criterion referenced assessment
  • Self report data
  • Questionnaires / Interviews
  • Developmental Scales
  • Observational data 
  • Practicalities of assessment (inc administration, reliability, validity, standardisation)
  • Analysing assessment data (standardized and non-standardised assessment)
  • Interpreting speech pathology assessment data
  • Understanding derived scores (eg: scaled scores, percentile rank, age equivalence, standard deviation)

  • Speech Pathologists in the school system 
  • Overview of school systems (state, catholic, private)
  • Introduction to the school community
  • Classroom dynamics and management 
  • Classroom acoustics 

  • Introduction to Community Engagement 
  • Models of capacity building 
  • Community engagement and working with communities 
  • Principles of community engagement 
  • Respect for human dignity 
  • Mutuality and reciprocity 
  • Forging partnerships for transformation 
  • Values underpinning volunteerism experience related to 
  • Relationships between staff, clients and families 
  • Roles and functions of staff and clients 
  • Boundaries and roles 
  • Introduction to working with disadvantaged population groups 
  • Introduction to working with communities to build goals and capacity 

  • Building safe and supportive environments working with specific vulnerable populations 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Learning and teaching strategies for this unit comprise onsite face-to-face and/or online lectures and face to face tutorials as well as offsite supervised professional practice experiences. This unit provides opportunities for students to apply theoretical knowledge to real-life and simulated situations, reflecting on developing professional identity, confidence and competence. Onsite activities prepare students for offsite experiences in a controlled academic environment. Offsite activities will be conducted in a small group format by a professional practice educator to facilitate professional competencies to an early novice level. The ‘ACU Child-safe Organisations’ module is an online learning task that, upon completion, participants will receive a certificate. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

To pass this unit students are required to demonstrate early novice level or above competency on the professional practice competencies of reasoning, communication, lifelong learning and professionalism. These skills are developed via onsite and offsite experiences.  


Mandatory documentation. In order to attend offsite professional practice experiences students must have ‘mandatory documentation’ in place as submitted to the Professional Experiences Services office. Students are unable to progress to placement or simulation experiences unless all mandatory requirements have been met. Documentation includes both state-based public health requirements, as well as internal ACU requirements in order to participate in simulated and real clinical environments. 


Professional Practice Assessment. The assessment strategies used to determine professional practice competency allow students to establish and develop a professional identity progressing towards novice competencies. The Competency-based Occupational Standards for Speech Pathologists (CBOS; SPA, 2011) requires students to move from novice through to entry level competency in a variety of Range of Practice (RoP) areas in order to meet Speech Pathology Australia (SPA) graduate entry requirements. The second year professional practice experience scaffolds student learning to enable early novice competency to be attained within a supported environment. In this way, students will be better prepared for future professional practice with external organizations. Due to the progressive nature of competency development, students will be assessed dynamically throughout the professional practice period. The Professional Practice Assessment tool will record student progress, set goals and determine levels of competency in both simulated and real clinical environmentsAs indicated in order to pass SPHY203 students must reach early novice level for the SPA professional competencies. 


Professional Practice Portfolio. This is a formative assessment task that provides evidence of a student’s ability to identify and organise documentary evidence of competency across the experienced Range of Practice areas within the scope of Speech Pathology practice (SPA, 2011). In order to pass this hurdle task students must submit a professional practice portfolio comprising evidence that supports the competency level identified via the professional practice assessment.   


Community Engagement. All students at ACU are required to understanding the University’s mission, values, and principles. SPHY203 introduces speech pathology students to the values and principles of community engagement in order to prepare them for undertaking community engagement in Year 2, semester 2 of their study. Students will be required to complete and pass (Hurdle) an online learning module in order to demonstrate that they have understood the key community engagement concepts such as promoting inclusion and equity, serving the common good, and enhancing the dignity and well-being of the disadvantages and/or marginalised.    


‘ACU Child-safe Organisations’ online module: This content is assessed using online multiple choice or short answer questions. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Mandatory Documentation 

To fulfil mandatory requirements of external agencies and comply with ACU Policy and Procedures. 



GA1, GA2

Professional Practice Assessment:

Enables students to demonstrate progression from pre-novice to early novice in professional practice contexts.


LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9 

Professional Practice Portfolio: 

Enables students to provide evidence of developing professional competencies 


LO2, LO4

GA1, GA5, GA8, GA9 

Community Engagement Module


LO3, LO4

GA1, GA2, GA6

‘ACU Child-safe Organisations’ online module 



GA1, GA2, GA5

Representative texts and references

Australian Children’s Commissioners and Guardians (2013). Submission to Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse Issues Paper 3 – Child Safe Institutions Principles for Child Safety in Organisations:

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

Higgs, J., Jones, M., Loftus, S., & Christensen, N. (2011). Clinical reasoning in the health professions (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Butterworth-Heinemann.  

Meyer, S. M. (2004). Survival guide for the beginning speech-language clinician (2nd ed.). Austin, Tex.: Pro-Ed. 

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

https://Speech Pathology Australia (2020)

Speech Pathology Australia. (2011). Competency-based occupational standards for speech pathologists revised. Retrieved 19 February, 2021, from 

Speech Pathology Australia Competency Based Standards (CBOS)

World Health Organisation. (2001). International classification of functioning, disability and health.  Retrieved 2nd February, 2016, from 

Wortley, R., & Smallbone, S. (2006). Applying Situational Principles to Sexual Offenses Against Children. In R. Wortley, & S. Smallbone (Eds.). Situational prevention of child sexual abuse. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice Press 

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