Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


SPHY100 Communication and Development Across the Lifespan

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning

Unit rationale, description and aim

Speech is a designated Range of Practice Area (RoPA) that speech pathology students are expected to demonstrate competency within in order to meet Entry Level requirements into the profession. Thus, having the capacity to manage children with speech sound disorders such as phonological disorders, articulation disorders, motor speech disorders, and structural disorders is a key aspect of Speech Pathology practice. This unit will provide students with the theoretical knowledge, technical skills, and clinical reasoning skills to enable them to provide evidence-based management (assessment, analysis, diagnosis, intervention, discharge) of speech disorders originating in childhood, that for some, continue across the lifespan. This unit will emphasise the client as an individual and the effect that the speech sound disorder can have on an individual's participation in their world. As such, this aim of this unit is to contribute to the development of the skills required by students under Speech Pathology Australia's Competency-based Occupational Standards (CBOS) by providing a theoretical base that ensures successful preparation for future professional practice in the area of child speech disorders.

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 - Generate assessment plans for speech disorders using principles of evidence based practice, person-centred practice and culturally responsive practice (GA5, GA8, GA9).

LO2 - Apply their theoretical knowledge of typical speech development and speech disorders, to analyse and interpret assessment data to complete a diagnosis of speech disorder (GA5, GA8, GA9). 

LO3 - Generate intervention plans for speech disorders using principles of evidence based practice, person-centred practice and culturally responsive practice (GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9).   

LO4 - Demonstrate evidence-based speech pathology interventions for speech disorders (GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9).

Graduate attributes

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

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

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

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


Topics will include:


  • Working collaboratively in teams
  • the International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health (ICF) 
  • Evidence based practice, person centred practice, and culturally responsive practice as applied to the  management of speech disorders (assessment, analysis, intervention and discharge)
  • Epidemiology of speech disorders 
  • Person-centred care
  • typical speech development 
  • Theories of speech development 
  • Classification systems of speech disorders
  • Speech disorders of unknown origin versus organic origin
  • General principles of assessment and intervention in speech 
  • Outcome measures in speech disorders



  • Taking a case history
  • Oromotor assessment 
  • screening and assessment tools
  • Assessing single words versus connected speech
  • Assessing stimulability, intelligibility, and variability/ inconsistency
  • Assessing syllable structures and stress patterns
  • Adapting for specific population groups, including multilingual children

Analysis and Interpretation

  • Analysing speech samples (independent and relational analysis)
  • Determining a differential diagnosis (e.g., severity, classification)


  • Selection of intervention targets: clinical decision making
  • Selection and application of evidence based intervention approaches 
  • Adapting for specific population groups, including multilingual children

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Using a blended learning strategy, students will explore the essential knowledge underpinning the assessment and intervention of developmental speech disorders via a combination of face-to-face lectures, pre-recorded online lectures or flipped classrooms as appropriate, and interactive face-to-face tutorials.

Face to face lectures, which are recorded for students to review upon demand, are primarily utilized to deliver core-teaching material. Delivering material in a lecture format allows for the rapid coverage of key factual information that students require in order to commence their understanding of developmental speech disorders.

Tutorials will include small group, collaborative learning with students engaging in active discussion and application of the theoretical unit content of developmental speech disorders. This will allow students to learn and practice technical and clinical reasoning skills required for clinical practice within a supported and safe teaching space. Case-based learning will be utilised to allow students to better understand and explore the management process required when working with individuals with speech disorders of a developmental nature. Learning activities within tutorials will be constructively aligned with the assessment tasks, in that students will have the opportunity to practice the technical skills, clinical reasoning skills, and communication skills required for the assessment tasks using parallel cases in tutorials. Tutorials will be face-to-face as ACU speech pathology graduates will be communication experts and likely to work in teams, it is important that students have the opportunity to interact face-to-face in tutorials and develop negotiation, team work, and oral communication skills. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

This unit takes an authentic assessment approach allowing students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in clinically relevant scenarios. The unit requires students to demonstrate their knowledge of technical skills, communication skills, and clinical reasoning skills in the area of developmental speech disorders. 

The first assessment is an individual case-based task. Students are required to demonstrate their capacity to analyse and interpret assessment case data of speech disorders. Students will use their technical and communication skills, in addition to clinical reasoning skills. This task targets the Speech Pathology Australia Competency Based Standards (CBOS) Unit 1: Assessment and Unit 2: Analysis and Interpretation.

The second assessment is a group task (with some individual components), presented in a written and/or oral format. Students will demonstrate their technical and communication skills, in addition to clinical reasoning skills pertaining to intervention for speech disorders. This task targets the CBOS Unit 3: Planning evidence-based speech pathology practice and Unit 4: Implementation of speech pathology practice. 

Assessments 1 and 2 will allow students to experience and demonstrate their understanding of the typical client management process. These assessments are designed to reflect authentic speech pathology practice and they are designed to prepare the students for professional practice experiences in other units of study. 

The third assessment is an individual exam which requires students to demonstrate their understanding of all the learning outcomes. 

Students will therefore have had the opportunity to be assessed twice on each learning outcome. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Case study: individual (Assessment and Analysis) 

Students to demonstrate the capacity to analyse, interpret, and explain assessment data for the range of practice area of paediatric Speech. (CBOS 1 & 2) 


LO1, LO2

CBOS Alignment

Occupational 1.1,1.2,2.1,2.4




GA5, GA8, GA9

Group assessment (Intervention)

Peer simulation requiring students to demonstrate the capacity to explain and demonstrate intervention for the range of practice area of paediatric Speech (CBOS 4).  


LO3, LO4

CBOS Alignment


3.1-3.3; 3.6; 4.1-4.2


1.1; 1.3; 2.2

GA5,GA7, GA8, GA9


Students demonstrate factual knowledge of Speech Sound Disorders and apply knowledge to case based scenarios.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4


1.2; 2.1; 2.3-2.4; 3.1; 3.4-3.5; 4.3-4.4


1.1-1.3; 2.2

GA5, GA8, GA9

In order to successfully complete this unit, students need to complete and submit all assessments and obtain an aggregate mark of 50% or greater. 

Representative texts and references

Bauman-Waengler, J. (2012). Articulatory and phonological impairments: A clinical focus (4th ed.).: Pearson.

Bernthal, J. E., Bankson, N. W., & Flipsen, P. (2017). Articulation and phonological disorders: Speech sound disorders in children (8thed.) Pearson.

Bleile, K.M. (2015). The manual of speech sound disorders: A book for students and clinicians (3rd ed.). Cengage Learning.

Bowen, C. (2015). Children’s speech sound disorders. John Wiley & Sons.

Dodd, B. (2014). Differential diagnosis of pediatric speech sound disorder. Current Developmental Disorders Reports, 1(3), 189-196.

Dodd, B., Hua, Z., Crosbie, S., Holm, A., & Ozanne, A. (2002). Diagnostic evaluation of articulation and phonology. The Psychological Corporation.  

Kummer, A. (2014). Cleft palate & craniofacial anomalies: Effects on speech and resonance (3rd ed.). Clifton Park, NY: Cengage Learning. 

McLeod, S. (Ed.). (2007). The international guide to speech acquisition.: Thomson Delmar Learning.

McLeod, S. & Baker, E. (2017). Children’s speech: An evidence-based approach to assessment and intervention. Pearson.

Williams, A. L., McLeod, S., & McCauley, R. J. (Eds.) (2010). Interventions for speech sound disorders in children.  Paul H. Brookes Publishing.

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