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SPHY203 Speech Pathology Practice 2A

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Language 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 speech pathology profession. This unit introduces students to language disorders of a developmental nature. Specifically, the causes, trajectory, severity, prognosis, and comorbidities of developmental language disorders will be examined along with current assessment and evidence based intervention approaches. These topics equip students with the necessary speech pathology skills to manage individuals with language disorders of a developmental nature.

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 - Demonstrate knowledge of developmental language disorders as compared with normal language development (GA4, GA5, GA9)

LO2 - Analyse and interpret standardised and non-standardised assessment information to relating to developmental language disorders (GA4, GA5, GA8; GA9);

LO3 - Evaluate evidence based interventions for developmental language disorders (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9)

LO4 - Formulate, person centred, culturally responsive, management plans utilizing the International Classification of Functioning (ICF) framework developmental language disorders (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9)

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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:

Developmental language disorders

  • Defining developmental language disorders
  • Etiology /models of developmental language disorders
  • Trajectories of developmental language disorders
  • Comorbidities of developmental language disorders

Assessment of development language disorders 

  • Standardized assessment of developmental language disorders
  • Non-standardised assessment of developmental language disorders 
  • Integrating and interpreting assessment data 
  • Evidenced based assessment of developmental language disorders
  • Assessment within an ICF framework

Management and Intervention:

  • Principles and purpose of intervention
  • Intervention approaches for developmental language disorders
  • Developing evidence-based intervention plans
  • How to evaluate intervention outcomes 

Developmental language disorders and working with:

  • Families and carers using a person and/or family centred practice approach
  • Culturally and linguistically diverse populations 
  • First Nations people

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit utilises an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of the essential knowledge associated with language disorders of a developmental nature. Using a blended learning strategy, students are able to explore the essential knowledge underpinning the assessment and intervention of developmental language disorders via a combination of face-to-face lectures, pre-recorded online lectures 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 language disorders. 

Tutorials will include small group, collaborative learning with students engaging in active discussion and application of the theoretical unit content of developmental language disorders. This will allow students to learn and practice 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 language disorders of a developmental nature. 

Cases presented will parallel assessment task requirements thus ensuring pedagogical alignment between teaching, learning, and assessment. 

Finally, the constructivist approach of inquiry based learning with a focus on independent problem-solving and lifelong learning will be promoted within the student cohort. This ability is required so that students can provide person centred, culturally responsive management necessary for the diversity that exists in the clinical population with developmental language disorder. This unit involves 150 hours of learning 

Assessment strategy and rationale

In this unit students are required to demonstrate their understanding of the nature and causes of developmental language disorders as well as the capacity to manage individuals presenting with such difficulty. Assessment 1 requires students to analyse and interpret assessment data pertinent to language disorders of a developmental nature. This task ensures that students demonstrate their knowledge of Speech Pathology Australia’s Competency-based Occupational Standards (CBOS) of Unit 1: Assessment and Unit 2: Analysis and Interpretation for language disorders of a developmental nature. This assessment aligns with Learning Outcomes 1 and 2. 

Assessment 2 requires students to select and demonstrate the capacity to implement an evidence-based intervention for language disorders of a developmental nature. This assessment aligns with CBOS Unit 3: Planning evidence-based speech pathology practice and Unit 4: Implementation of speech pathology practice and covers Learning Objective 3. 

Finally, assessment 3 (exam) provides students with the opportunity to show their understanding of the applicability of the ICF to language disorders of a developmental nature. This task also requires demonstration of the integration of the assessment and intervention processes for individuals presenting with language disorders of a developmental nature (CBOS Units 1-4; LO’s 1-4). 

The assessment tasks in this unit ensure that students experience and demonstrate understanding of the usual management process for individuals presenting with language disorders of a developmental nature.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Case study – paediatric 

Demonstration of capacity to analyse and interpret case based data for the range of practice area of paediatric language plus develop management recommendations (CBOS 1 - 3).


LO1, LO2

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

Group project

Demonstration of intervention for paediatric language disorder (CBOS 4)


LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9


Demonstration of factual knowledge regarding paediatric language disorder combined with application of skills to case based scenarios.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA7, 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

Brassard, M. R., & Boehm, A. E. (2008). Preschool assessment. Principles and practices. London: Guilford.

Hulme, C. & Snowling, M. (2009). Developmental disorders of language, learning and cognition. Wiley-Blackwell. 

Kamhi, A. G., Masterson, J. J., & Apel, K. (2007). Clinical decision making in developmental language disorders. Baltimore: Brookes.

Kohnert, K. (2007). Language disorders in bilingual children and adults. San Diego, CA: Plural Publishing. 

McCauley, R. J., Fey, M. E., & Gillam, R. B. (2017). Treatment of language disorders in children. (2nd ed.). Baltimore: Brookes. 

Paul, R., & Cascella, P. W. (2007). Introduction to clinical methods in communication disorders (2nd ed.). Baltimore: Brookes.

Paul, R. & Norbury, C. F. (2012). Language disorders from infancy through adolescence. Listening, Speaking, reading, writing, and communicating. St Louis, Missouri: Elsevier.

Speech Pathology Australia (Producer). (2011). Clinical guidelines: Speech pathology services in schools.

Watts Pappas, N. & McLeod, S. (2008). Working with families in speech-language pathology. San Diego, CA: Plural Publishing.

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