Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


ALHT106 Psychology for Allied Health AND SPHY100 Communication, Swallowing and Development Across the Lifespan AND SPHY102 Anatomy and Physiology for Speech Pathology AND SPHY103 Linguistics and Phonetics for Speech Pathology AND SPHY105 Foundations of Speech Pathology Practice

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning

Unit rationale, description and aim

Speech pathologists work with children and/or adults who experience communication and/or swallowing difficulties. Therefore, they need to have knowledge and skills for working with different populations in a range of different settings. This unit has a focus on building the skills required for working with children, particularly those who experience speech and/or language difficulties/disorders. 

This is the second of seven professional practice units. Students will participate in activities and experiences that will assist with the development of reasoning, communication, life-long learning and professionalism. Students will build on knowledge and skills developed in first year units to demonstrate novice-level skills in assessment, analysis and interpretation, and intervention. 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. The unit will include a module on working with children, young people and vulnerable adults that will focus on responding to concerns and strategies to keep ourselves and others safe and support children, young people and vulnerable adults.

The aim of this unit is to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate professional practice competency at a novice level, which will then provide a foundation for future professional practice units and experiences.

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 novice-level reasoning, communication, learning and professional behaviours for working with children, families, carers and educators (GA1, GA5, GA8, GA9)

LO2 - Demonstrate novice level skills related to assessment, analysis and interpretation, intervention planning and service delivery (GA5, GA8, GA9)

LO3 - Discuss the role of the speech pathologist, other allied health professionals and members of the community in supporting participation for people with a disability and different communication needs (GA1, GA2, GA5, GA6, GA9)

LO4 - Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of 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.

Competency and practice areas of focus

  • Expectations of the novice level student in paediatric speech, language and multimodal communication

Professional Conduct (Professional Standard 1)

Provide ethical and evidence-based practice

  • Professional conduct and ethical behaviour (Scope of Practice and Code of Ethics)
  • Professional (clinical) reasoning and the International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health (ICF): Functioning and Disability
  • Hypothetical deductive reasoning, pattern recognition and case-based reasoning.

Comply with legislation, standards, policies and protocols

  • Fitness to Practice, ACU mandatory documentation and the Professional Practice Handbook
  • Speech Pathology Australia standards, policies and practise guidelines
  • Policies and protocols of the workplace

Provide safe and quality services

  • Supervision roles and responsibilities
  • ACU Child safe organisations module

Collaborate with individuals, their supports, our colleagues and the community

  • Overview of health and education sectors
  • Speech Pathologists in the health and education sectors
  • Introduction to the health clinic and school communities
  • Classroom dynamics and management
  • Classroom acoustics
  • Applying the ICF to the assessment, management and ongoing support of an individual requiring a multimodal system

Maintain high standards of communication, information sharing and record keeping

  • Introduction to ethical and medico-legal responsibilities in speech pathology practice.
  • Records of practice

Consider the needs of individuals and communities in clinical decision-making and practice

  • Establishing a therapeutic relationship
  • Types and forms of questioning
  • Counselling: Listening and responding using verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Understanding and responding to a client’s personal history, cultural and social background during joint goal setting

Advocate for optimal communication and swallowing

  • Communication as a ‘basic human right’
  • Building safe and supportive environments for working with children, young people and vulnerable adults

Reflective Practice and lifelong learning (Professional Standard 2)

Demonstrate self-awareness and use of critical reflection to guide professional development and practice

  • Reflective practice
  • Reflection on action.

Plan personal development goals

  • Learning goals / plans
  • Feedback and facilitating change in clinical and professional competence

Acquire, critique and integrate knowledge from a range of sources

  • Linking professional reasoning with EBP in the health and education sectors

Speech Pathology Practice (Professional Standard 3)

Assess communication and swallowing needs

  • Applying the ICF to case history gathering and the assessment process
  • Principles of assessment in AAC and multimodal communication and common tools of assessment

Interpret, diagnose and report on assessments

  • Analysing assessment data (standardiszed and non-standardised assessment)
  • Interpreting speech pathology assessment data
  • Understanding derived scores (e.g.: scaled scores, percentile rank, age equivalence, standard deviation)
  • Reporting assessment data

Plan speech pathology intervention or service response

  • Developing person-centred and functional goals relating to communication and participation Intervention and ongoing support
  • Introduction and development of low technology communication aids (e.g. chat books, choice books/charts, talking mats)
  • Accessible communication environments and building capacity

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Learning and teaching strategies for this unit comprise tutorials/workshops as well as 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.

Tutorials and workshops prepare students for professional practice experiences with clients in a controlled academic environment. Professional practice activities will be conducted via a small group format by a professional practice educator/s to facilitate professional competencies to a novice level. To participate in these experiences, students will show professional conduct by complying with the legislation, standards, policies and protocols necessary for working in health services and education, and with young people and vulnerable adults. 

The semester 1, year 2 professional practice experience scaffolds student learning to enable novice competency to be attained within a supported environment, preparing students for future professional practice experiences.

Assessment strategy and rationale

To pass this unit students are required to participate in classroom based and professional practice experiences and receive a satisfactory grade on three hurdle tasks.  

Mandatory documentation. In order to attend professional practice experiences students must have mandatory documentation in place that is approved by ACU staff. 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 (including the Child-Safe Organisations module).

Professional Practice Assessment. Due to the progressive nature of competency development, students will be assessed dynamically throughout their professional practice experiences. The Professional Practice Assessment tool will enable supervisors to record student progress, assist with goal setting, and assist in determining levels of competency in both simulated and/or real clinical environments across Domains 1-3 of the Professional Standards for Speech Pathologists in Australia. Students also attend an interview with their professional practice educator in which students will have an additional opportunity to demonstrate their emerging reflective practice skills as they report on their achievement of personal goals, acquisition of knowledge, understanding of speech pathology and skills in assessment and intervention. In order to pass SPHY203 students must reach novice level on this tool.

Clinical skills exam. Students are required to demonstrate novice level competency in the administration and analysis of speech and language assessments in a whole of cohort assessment format. In addition to providing students with the opportunity to receive further feedback on their developing skills, this task will familiarise students with the assessment format used in future years of the program when more advanced competency standards are to be met.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Mandatory Documentation 

Students are required to fulfil mandatory requirements of external agencies and comply with ACU Policy and Procedures, including the Child-Safe Organisations module.


LO1, LO4

GA1, GA2, GA5, GA8, GA9

Professional Practice Assessment

Students will complete a professional practice experience and demonstrate novice competency in clinical skills and generic competencies as evaluated on the Professional Practice Assessment tool.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA2, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9

Clinical Skills Exam

Students will demonstrate clinical skills in assessment and/or intervention for paediatric communication disorders.



GA5, GA8, 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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