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

Speech pathologists in Australia work across a range of practice areas including speech, language (written/oral), fluency, voice, swallowing and multi-modal communication. They are required to meet competency-based and professional standards and to undertake work in line with the Speech Pathology Australia Code of Ethics (2020) and the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF; WHO, 2001). In Australia, the work of speech pathologists is also underpinned by professional practice principles such as a strong evidence-base, client/family-centred focus, effective interprofessional working and culturally safe and responsive practice.

This unit introduces students to the profession and practice of speech pathology in Australia. Students will be introduced to the range of practice areas in which speech pathologists work, the key principles underlying graduate practice and key practice-related documents including the Competency-based Occupational Standards for Speech Pathologists (CBOS), the Professional Standards for Speech Pathologists, the ICF and Code of Ethics. Students will begin to apply these frameworks within reflective learning activities and field work experience.

Additionally, this unit contains a learning outcome from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Curriculum Framework (HCF, 2014) specifically addressing the HCF cultural capability- Humility and lifelong learning.

The aim of this unit is to provide students with an introduction to speech pathology practice in Australia, and to the range of practice areas and settings within which speech pathologists work. 

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, standards of practice (including the Code of Ethics), and contexts of practice (GA2, GA3, GA5)

LO2 - Describe frameworks that guide speech pathology practice, including the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF), client/family centred practice, evidence-based practice and interprofessional practice (GA2, GA5)

LO3 - Discuss the importance of communication and mealtime activities at individual and societal levels, and the relationship between these activities, human rights and the dignity of the human person (GA1, GA9)

LO4 - Demonstrate novice skills in professionalism through adherence to mandatory compliance requirements and participating in professional practice experiences (GA5, GA9)

LO5 - HCF 4.2* Demonstrate cultural humility and explain behaviours and values required to engage in lifelong learning (GA1, GA4)

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

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 

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


Professional conduct

·        Professional Standards for Speech Pathology (PSSP); Competency Based Occupational Standards (CBOS) and Competency Assessment in Speech Pathology (COMPASS)

·        What is competency?

·        Definition of Novice, Intermediate and Entry level competency and expected progression through program.


Professional Competencies:

  • Reasoning: Evidence Based Practice and professional reasoning
  • Communication: Academic and professional communication
  • Professionalism: SPA Code of Ethics, Mandatory documentation

Speech pathology practice

·        Range of practice areas, including speech, language, voice, fluency, swallowing and use of multi-modal communication

·        Scope and settings of practice

·        Service delivery

Practice Principles:

·        Evidence based practice

·        Holistic practice (including the ICF, WHO, 2001)

·        Client centred/family centred practice

·        Culturally secure and responsive practice

·        First Peoples perspectives and cultural humility

Reflective practice and lifelong learning

·        Introduction to reflective practice frameworks

·        Learning and goal-setting

·        Professional associations and professional development


Introduction to Community Engagement

·        Community engagement and working with communities

·        Principles of community engagement

  • Respect for human dignity
  • Mutuality and reciprocity
  • Forging partnerships for transformation

·        Introduction to working with disadvantaged population groups

·        Introduction to working with communities to build goals and capacity

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit utilises a blended learning or multimode approach to provide students with multiple modalities in which to engage with content and key competencies and facilitates development of both self-directed and collaborative learning strategies. A total of 150 hours of focussed learning is expected for this unit. The teaching and learning strategies will include face to face and/or online lecture content, tutorials and a professional practice experience.


Lecture content introduce students to key information about the speech pathology profession and includes exposure to clinicians in the field and guest lecturers from a range of practice settings. Tutorials provide students with the opportunity to discuss information presented in lectures and to become more familiar with the speech pathology profession and standards/frameworks that govern speech pathology activities. The professional practice experience provides students with an opportunity to observe speech pathologists in a particular setting to consolidate their learning about the profession.

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 foundational knowledge about professional conduct and speech pathology practice, including range of practice areas, speech pathology activities and settings in which speech pathologists work.

The oral presentation will provide students with the opportunity to work in small groups to build skills in collaboration while demonstrating their ability to describe speech pathology practice and their understanding of frameworks that guide practice.  This task will also enable students to use different communication technologies to present this information to a given audience.

The learning and reflective journal will enable students to demonstrate their ability to reflect on the importance of communication and mealtime activities for individuals and society, speech pathology, links between culture, learning and communication, and to consider how these may influence their future clinical practice and personal learning goals.

Completion of the mandatory compliance documentation for placement, and participation in a professional practice experience are hurdle tasks for this unit. These tasks allow students to demonstrate their ability to meet professional responsibilities and behave in an ethical way.

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 practical placements.

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 clinical placements.

Completion of the online community engagement learning module will enable students 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 disadvantaged and/or marginalised. All students at ACU are required to understanding the University’s mission, values, and principles. SPHY101 introduces speech pathology students to the values and principles of community engagement in order to prepare them for undertaking community engagement next semester.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes


Students demonstrate factual knowledge of Speech pathology practice in Australia


LO1, LO2

GA2, GA3, GA5

Oral Presentation

Students work in groups to create a presentation describing Speech Pathology practice and frameworks that guide practice.


LO1, LO2, LO3

CBOS Alignment:


4.5-4.6; 7.2


2.2; 3.2-3.3; 4.1-4.5

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA5, GA9

Learning and reflective journal

Students complete a series of journal entries reflecting on speech pathology, and the development of personal goals for Speech pathology .


LO3, LO4

CBOS Alignment:


4.5; 5.1; 6.1; 6.3; 7.1-7.2


2.2; 3.1-3.3

GA1, GA4, GA9

Mandatory Compliance Documentation

State-based documentation required for placement purposes must be submitted and verified as satisfactory



CBOS Alignment:




GA1, GA5, GA9

Online Community Engagement module


CBOS Alignment:




GA1, GA9

Representative texts and references

Cook, K., Tillard, G., Wyles, C., Gerhard, D., Ormond, T., & McAuliffe, M. (2019). Assessing and developing the written reflective practice skills of speech-language pathology students. International Journal of Speech language Pathology, 21(1), 4-55.  

Hoffman, T., Bennett, S., & Del Mar, C. (2017). Evidence-based practice across the health professions (3rd ed.). Elsevier Australia. 

McAllister, S., Lincoln, M., Ferguson, A. & McAllister, L. (2013). COMPASS®: Competency assessment in speech pathology technical manual (2nd ed.). Speech Pathology Australia.  

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

Speech Pathology Australia. (2017). Competency-based occupational standards for speech pathologists revised.

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

Speech Pathology Australia (2020). Scope of Practice.

World Health Organisation. (2023). International classification of functioning, disability and health [online resource]. 

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