Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


(SPHY200 Neuroscience Speech Pathology AND SPHY201 Language Disorders (Developmental) AND SPHY202 Language Disorders (Acquired) AND SPHY203 Speech Pathology Practice 2A AND SPHY204 Speech Disorders (Developmental) ) OR (SPHY209 Speech disorders (developmental) and hearing AND SPHY205 Motor Speech Disorders (Acquired) AND SPHY207 Speech Pathology Practice 2B )

Unit rationale, description and aim

Speech pathologists provide support for adults who experience communication and swallowing difficulties as a result of acquired, progressive or lifelong conditions. They undertake assessments with adult clients to identify needs and relative strengths, interpret assessment data to differentially diagnose conditions and work with individuals and their significant others to plan and implement intervention to address their needs.

This is the fourth of seven professional practice units. In this unit, students will have the opportunity to engage in a variety of learning models, including case-based learning and simulations, to apply their theoretical understanding and build their knowledge and skills in working with adults with communication and/or swallowing difficulties. Specifically, students will explore increasingly complex adult case scenarios, in which integration and application of knowledge is required to diagnose conditions and demonstrate effective intervention techniques.

Students will participate in activities and experiences that will assist with the continued development of reasoning, communication, life-long learning and professionalism. They will progress towards being more independent in their professional practice skills, as well as further developing their identity and competence as a speech pathologist.

The aim of this unit is to enable students to demonstrate intermediate level competency in professional practice activities by providing opportunities for them to consolidate their knowledge and skills for supporting adults with acquired, progressive and/or lifelong communication and swallowing difficulties. This will prepare them for subsequent professional practice experiences in a range of adult settings.

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 reasoning, communication, learning and professional behaviours at an intermediate level (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9)

LO2 - Demonstrate technical skill proficiency and professionalism in the assessment, analysis, diagnosis, planning and implementation of ethical and evidence-based intervention for adult communication and swallowing difficulties (GA1, GA3, GA5)

LO3 - Integrate feedback and critical reflection to guide professional practice and future learning (GA4, GA5, 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 


Content is provided during class- based activities as well as during professional practice activities in simulated settings. 

Competency and practice areas of focus: 

  • Expectations of the Intermediate level student in adult speech, language , voice and dyspahagia 

Professional conduct (Professional Standard 1)

  • Professional communication skills (information sharing and record-keeping)
  • Professional conduct and ethical behaviour (Scope of Practice and Code of Ethics)
  • Compliance with legislation, standards, policies and protocols (Fitness to Practice, ACU mandatory documentation and the Professional Practice Handbook)
  • Speech Pathology Australia standards, policies and practice guidelines related to adult clients/settings
  • Clinical reasoning, professionalism and lifelong learning across the adult range of practice areas  
  • Person-centred care (adults) 
  • Advocating for the adult client; advocating for the profession within adult service settings


Reflective Practice and Lifelong Learning (Professional Standard 2)

  • Requirements for the transition from novice to intermediate level of speech pathology competency 
  • Transferability of skills from paediatric to adult professional practice environments
  • Reflective practice for intermediate level; responding to feedback
  • Planning and evaluating learning goals


Speech Pathology Practice (Professional Standard 3)

  • Introduction to adult service settings and service models
  • Assessment, analysis, intervention planning with adult clients (including consideration of client, clinician, and contextual factors in planning and implementing evidence based adult client management)
  • Introduction to comorbidity within the adult range of practice areas 
  • Application of the ICF to facilitate activity, participation, and quality of life across adult range of practice areas

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Professional practice experiences can occur in a variety of contexts and modalities. This unit is based on a blended learning approach to closely replicate a ‘real world’ environment and the inherent breadth of working as a health professional. The unit consists of 150 hours of learning inclusive of lectures and tutorials, online learning modules, workshops, simulations, and self-directed investigations.

This unit provides an opportunity for students to apply their theoretical knowledge to simulated situations whilst reflecting on and developing their professional identity, confidence and competence. University-based activities prepare students for their external professional practice experiences in a facilitated and supportive peer learning environment, scaffolding students’ readiness for future workplace experiences.

Students will be exposed to a range of client presentations and professional practice scenarios, enabling diversity within the experiences of the cohort. Class based activities will ensure that students can share these disparities with one another, providing opportunities for interdisciplinary learning and practice using professional language across a range of practice areas, whilst furthering students’ understanding of their role and professional identity.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In this unit students demonstrate their learning and competency development through a series of professional practice activities which include individual and small group tasks, online and face-to-face learning modules, simulations, external activities, peer learning and self-directed investigations.


This unit has one ungraded hurdle task and two assessment items that are pass/fail tasks. The ungraded hurdle task requires submission of mandatory documentation relating to professional practice experiences. The pass/fail tasks are designed to emulate the types of activities in which students will be required to demonstrate competency in future professional practice experiences. Hence, the grades of pass (competent) and fail (below competent) are used. Students are required to pass each task in order to demonstrate achievement of the three learning outcomes for this unit. Students will be provided with two attempts at each pass/fail task. That is, if students fail one task on the first attempt, they will be given another attempt to demonstrate competency. If they do not demonstrate competency on the second attempt, they will fail the unit.


The ungraded hurdle task that requires submission and approval of mandatory professional documentation both prior to commencing SPHY302 and following completion of SPHY302. In order to attend professional practice experiences students must have mandatory documentation in place and approved by ACU staff. Students are unable to progress to placement or simulation experiences unless all mandatory requirements have been met. Documentation includes state-based public health requirements. At the completion of SPHY302, documentation regarding clinical hours must be submitted and approved in order for a student to be eligible to receive a grade for this unit. 

Assessment 1 is an authentic case-based assessment that includes demonstration of practical skills required within an adult communication and/or swallowing caseload. This individual assessment task will allow students to demonstrate their ability to differentially diagnose and plan intervention for an adult with communication and/or swallowing difficulties. This assessment will allow for an equitable, whole of cohort, independent evaluation of students’ knowledge and skills in these areas. Assessment and intervention planning are core activities for speech pathologists, requiring professional and technical skills and students will be required to demonstrate these skills in external placements in subsequent units within the program. Thus, this task assesses student achievement of Learning Outcomes 1 and 2.


Assessment 2 is a dynamic assessment of competency, based on students' performances throughout their professional practice experience. The assessment will involve students meeting with their professional practice educator to discuss their responsiveness to feedback, development of clinical and professional skills, and achievement of personal learning goals. Students and the professional practice educators will use these meetings and the Professional Practice Assessment Tool to evaluate competency across generic professional skills (professionalism, communication, reflection and lifelong learning) and the Professional Standards for Speech Pathologists in Australia (PSSPA). In order to pass SPHY302 students must reach Intermediate level of competencies on completion of their professional practice experience. The entire placement period, including all tasks and activities completed outside of direct supervision time are assessable against the PPAT criteria. Thus, this task assesses student achievement of Learning Outcomes 1, 2 and 3.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Ungraded Hurdle: Mandatory documentation

Students will submit mandatory requirements of external agencies and comply with ACU Policy and Procedures.

Ungraded Hurdle

(satisfactory / unsatisfactory)






[PSSPA 1.1, 1.2] 

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Assessment 1: Case-based exam

Students will respond individually to a case scenario(s) involving adults with communication and/or swallowing difficulties.

Ungraded Hurdle


MUST PASS in order to pass unit

LO1, LO2


1.1-1.4; 2.1-2.5; 3.1-3.7; 4.1-4.4


1.1-1.3; 2.2; 4.1-4.5

[PSSPA 1.1 1.3  

3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4 ]

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Assessment 2: Professional practice assessment

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

Ungraded Hurdle


MUST PASS in order to pass unit

LO1, LO2, LO3


1.1-1.4; 2.1-2.5; 3.1-3.7; 4.1-4.4, 7.2


1.1-1.3; 2.1-2.2; 4.2, 4.4-4.5

[PSSPA 1.4 1.5 1.6  

2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4 2.5, 2.6] 

GA1, GA4, 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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