Credit points


Campus offering

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SPHY200 Neuroscience Speech Pathology and SPHY203 Speech Pathology Practice 2A

Unit rationale, description and aim

Acquired motor speech disorders impact communication and reduce an adult's ability to communicate within their community. In order to address the communication needs of people with acquired motor speech disorders, speech pathologists need to be able to understand the range of motor speech disorders, reach the correct diagnosis, and provide intervention.

As such, this unit contributes 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 acquired motor speech disorders.

Specifically, students will (a) integrate their understanding of relevant anatomy, neurology and physiology to describe the range of motor speech disorders (ie dysarthria, apraxia of speech), (b) develop skills in the auditory perceptual and instrumental assessment and analysis of acquired motor speech disorders; and (c) utilise evidence-based practice frameworks, including the ICF (International Classification of Disability, Functioning and Health), to support person-centered intervention planning.

The knowledge, skills and professional attributes developed in this unit are foundational for both theoretical and professional practice units in third and fourth year of the program.

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 range of acquired motor speech disorders (GA4, GA5) 

LO2 - Identify and implement suitable methods of assessment to investigate acquired motor speech disorders (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA9)

LO3 - Utilise interpreted assessment information and clinical decision making framework/s to plan person centred and culturally responsive intervention for clients with acquired motor speech disorders (GA1, GA4, GA8, GA9)

Graduate attributes

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

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

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

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


Topics will include:

  • The anatomy, physiology, neurology and aetiology of acquired motor speech disorders with reference to typical adult speech.
  • Assessment and analysis of the auditory, perceptual, physiologic, and acoustic features of acquired motor speech disorders with reference to a bio-psychosocial perspective (ICF): 

o   Acquired Apraxia of Speech

o   The Dysarthrias

  • Management of acquired motor speech disorders with reference to a bio-psychosocial perspective (ICF)

o   Principles of neurological recovery 

o   Therapy techniques specific to population / disorder type 

o   Medical and surgical management of acquired motor speech disorders 

  • Practical, ethical, and medico-legal issues associated with diagnosis and management of acquired motor speech disorders 
  • Introduction to specific populations (e.g. Parkinson Disease; Motor Neuron Disease; Stroke; Traumatic Brain Injury)
  • Ethical and person centred service delivery including: engaging with clients, understanding presenting issues, selecting appropriate assessment methods, collaborative goal setting, evidence based t intervention, measurement of outcomes, and discharge planning. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit involves 150 hours of learning with a combination of face-to-face lectures, pre-recorded online guest lectures as appropriate, and interactive face-to-face tutorials. To enhance student engagement and promote flexible learning, strategies for technology enhance learning; such as flipped classrooms are also utilised. Tutorials will incorporate small group, experiential learning with students engaging in (a) active discussions of theoretical concepts and (b) role plays of assessment and intervention activities relevant to the content and management of acquired motor speech disorders. 

Collaborative case-based learning will also be utilised allowing students to better understand and explore the management process required for clients with an acquired motor speech disorder. The use of case based learning (including the frequent use of role play/simulation) parallels assessment task requirements thus ensuring pedagogical alignment between teaching, learning, and assessment. Finally, inquiry based learning will be facilitated to ensure that students develop responsibility for their learning using a constructivist approach to acquiring knowledge. This philosophy ensures the development of problem solving and lifelong learning that is required for successful professional practice.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

This unit’s assessment regime is designed to promote students sequential development of knowledge and skills relevant to the management of acquired motor speech disorders. Specifically, the first assessment provides students with summative feedback about their understanding of threshold concepts necessary for describing the range of acquired motor speech disorders (LO1). Given that the assessment encourages students to acquire the theoretical knowledge that they will need to integrate and apply in the second and third pieces of assessment, its weighting is 20%.

The second assessment task provides students with a scaffolded experience to plan the management of motor speech disorders using a case study. Authentic to the decision making process in professional practice, students demonstrate (a) their understanding of the purpose of assessment relevant to acquired motor speech disorders (LO2) and (b) their ability to integrate assessment information to form a diagnosis and plan intervention (LO1, LO3). These three components of Assessment 2 address the Competency-based Occupational Standards (CBOS) of Unit 1: Assessment, Unit 2: Analysis and Interpretation and Unit 3: Planning evidence-based speech pathology practice. Given the task’s alignment with multiple CBOS units, necessary for emerging professional competence relevant to acquired motor speech, its weighting is justified at 50%.

The third assessment task allows students to demonstrate clinical skills relevant to the management of motor speech disorders using a simulated case study. Specifically, students are required to identify and implement suitable methods of assessment and/or intervention for acquired motor speech disorders (LO2, LO3). Successful completion of Assessment 3 will provide students with indirect evidence of CBOS Units 1, 2, 3 & 4. Given Assessment 3 provides student’s with a brief and highly scaffolded opportunity to demonstrate their emerging professional knowledge and skills (i.e., to ‘think and act’ as a speech pathologist) in preparation for professional practice placement, its assessment weighting is 30%. 

Combined, Assessment 2 and Assessment 3 provide students with the ‘real world’ experience to plan and demonstrate their understanding of the typical client management process relevant to acquired motor speech disorders.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Multiple choice and short answer question task/s

Demonstration of factual knowledge regarding Speech Pathology Australia range of practice area of adult Speech disorders.



GA4, GA5

Case Study Report 

Students demonstrate capacity to analyse and interpret assessment data regarding adult Speech (CBOS 1 & 2)


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Case Study Simulation 

Demonstration of intervention for adult Speech disorder (CBOS 4)


LO2, LO3

GA1, GA3, GA4, 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

Duffy, J. (2013). Motor speech disorders: Substrates, differential diagnosis, and management (3rd ed.). St Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby. 

Freed, D. (2012). Motor speech disorders: Diagnosis and treatment (2nd ed.). Clifton Park, NY: Delmar.

McNeil, M.  (2009). Clinical management of sensori-motor speech disorders. (2nd ed.) 

Shadden, B., Hagstrom, F., & Koski, P. (2008). Neurogenic communication disorders
life stories and the narrative self. San Diego, CA: Plural Publishing.

 World Health Organisation. (2014). International classification of functioning, disability and health. Retrieved from

Yorkston, K., Beukelman, D., Strand, E., & Hakel, M. (2010). Management of motor speech

disorders in children and adults (3rd ed.). Austin, Texas: Pro-Ed.

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