Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


(SPHY301 Swallowing, Feeding, and Mealtime across the Lifespan AND SPHY302 Speech Pathology Practice 3A AND SPHY309) OR (SPHY302 Speech Pathology Practice 3A AND SPHY308 Multimodal Communication Across the Lifespan )


ALHT412, ALHT420

Unit rationale, description and aim

Speech pathologists have a key role in working with communities to support and advocate for  communication and swallowing needs as a basic human right. Working with communities, speech pathologists are able to facilitate meaningful and evidence based preventative, promotional and/or educational projects that are based on identified community needs and assets. Research and project-based work are core competencies required by Speech Pathology Australia at entry into the profession.

In this unit, students will explore the role of speech pathologists in advocating for, and creating, optimal environments that facilitate successful communication, mealtime and swallowing experiences. They will consider ways in which communication and swallowing needs relate to human rights, human dignity, ethics, and the Common Good.

Students will be required to analyse community-based data to identify health needs related to communication, mealtimes and swallowing, and to plan a project to address the environmental factors (both social and physical) that may act as barriers to participation in these activities. As part of this subject, students will undertake community engagement, to deepen their understanding around working with community.

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- Clinical presentations.

The aim of the unit is for students to recognise the work of the speech pathology profession as it relates to individual, targeted and universal/systemic services, in particular to community development and public health initiatives, and to provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate skills in working with communities to address their goals and needs.

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 - Analyse what contributes to a community, the role of social determinants of health in the development and maintenance of a community, and factors that contribute to exclusion from community (GA2, GA6, GA7, GA8)

LO2 - Utilise research, scientific process, and participatory principles to evaluate and describe the strengths and needs of communities (GA1, GA2, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8)

LO3 - Demonstrate understanding of the role of speech pathology in public health and working with communities, through the conceptualization and development of evidence-based and responsive community and/or public health projects that optimise communication and swallowing outcomes (GA1, GA2, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8)

LO4 - HCF 9.3* Apply local epidemiology and population health data in diagnostic thinking, and develop strategies for community-wide approaches to prevention (GA2, GA6, GA7, GA8)


LO5 - Engage in participatory approaches to working with communities, and reflect on the strengths and challenges associated with community engagement activities (GA2, GA4, GA6, GA7)

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 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively

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

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

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


Topics will include:

Public Health

  • Human rights, health/education/disability policies
  • Tiers of service provision: universal, population, targeted and specialized/individual
  • Public health (universal and population provision), the Common Good and Ethics
  • Speech pathology, public health and health promotion


Frameworks and models that support community-centred practice

  • ICF in the context of community centred practice
  • Social determinants of health: role of social determinants in the development and maintenance of communities, diversity and intersectionality
  • Access and equity
  • Speech pathology and  environmental factors
  • Culture and culturally responsive practice
  • Sustainable development goals
  • Principles of community-based rehabilitation: global and local considerations

Scientific process in community/public health

  • Defining Community and Community-centred practice
  • The scientific process and community/public health
  • Undertaking a needs and asset assessment/analysis
  • Consulting and collaborating with groups and services through participatory and co-design approaches
  • Building a community profile
  • Using evidence to support project development


Community-centred projects

  • Developing strategic partnerships; building capacity
  • Strategies and processes for development and implementation of community projects
  • Monitoring and evaluation of community-centred projects

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit applies a blended learning approach to support students in the exploration of knowledge relating to the role of speech pathologists in advocacy and community development, to extend their understanding of the scientific method and its application in community projects, and to apply this learning in the development of a public health project related to speech pathology. The blended learning strategy will combine asynchronous learning, in which key information will be presented to students, and interactive tutorials, in which students will have opportunities to discuss and apply that information through small group, collaborative learning. Opportunities to engage with community will also enable students to develop practical skills in collaboration and project development.

This unit involves 150 hours of learning inclusive of a combination of face-to-face and online delivery, interactive and independent learning, and assessment tasks. This unit also includes approximately 20 hours of community engagement, which is integrated into the learning outcomes and assessment items.

Assessment strategy and rationale

This unit provides students with opportunities to demonstrate their learning across three assessment items and one hurdle task, utilising different modalities.

Assessment 1 (Community profile) requires the completion of a needs analysis and community profile, which will be undertaken as a group. Students will be required to apply research skills introduced in years 1 and 2 of the program, such as literature searching, analysis and synthesis, data collection, analysis, integration and interpretation, to a community. Application of these research skills will enable them to identify assets and needs related to communication and/or swallowing within a given community, and barriers and facilitators to participation.

Assessment 2 (Community project) is a group task and requires students to draw upon Assessment Item 1 and community consultation to plan an appropriate project to target the communication and/or swallowing need identified.

Assessment 3 (Reflection) is an individual task, where students reflect on their engagement with community, demonstrating how theory has informed their understanding of their role in working with communities. This will be undertaken via a series of prompt questions throughout the unit, to ensure students are undertaking regular, scaffolded reflection. Students must pass this assessment task to pass the unit overall (graded hurdle). Assessment 3 is a graded hurdle because it is the only graded task that explicitly assesses learning outcome 5. Students have one extra attempt at this assessment task if they fail on their first attempt, provided that their overall unit grade is 50% or above.

The Ungraded Hurdle task (Community engagement and consultation) requires students to attend mandatory community engagement sessions and contribute to community engagement activities, as specified in the unit outline.

It is an expectation of Speech Pathology Australia that students participate in research with others, and that they complete preventative, promotional and/or educational projects during their training. These assessment tasks are designed to provide students with these opportunities, so as to meet the competencies required for entry-level speech pathologists.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment 1: Community profile

Students will work in groups to gather and analyse data about a community to explore health needs relevant to speech pathology.


LO1, LO2, LO4

CBOS Alignment


1.1-1.3, 2.1,2.3; 4.1-4.6


4.5-4.6, all unit 5; 6.1; 7.1; 7.4

GA1, GA2, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8

Assessment 2: Community Project

Students will work in groups to co-design a project that would address the communication/swallowing needs of a community.


LO3, LO4

CBOS Alignment


1.1-1.3; 2.2; 4.1-4.5


4.5-4.6; all unit 5; 6.1; 7.1, 7.4

GA1, GA2, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8

Assessment 3 (Graded Hurdle): Reflection

This individual assessment enables students to articulate their knowledge and understanding of the speech pathology role in community-centred practice, and their experience working with community via a written reflection. 


(Graded Hurdle)

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

CBOS Alignment




5.5; 7.2

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA6, GA7, GA8

Ungraded Hurdle: Community Consultation and Community Engagement

Students must attend community engagement sessions and contribute to community engagement activities, as specified in the unit outline.  

Pass/ Fail

(Ungraded Hurdle)

LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

CBOS Alignment





GA1, GA2, GA4, GA6, GA7, GA8

Representative texts and references

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

Speech Pathology Australia. (2020). Position Statements.

United Nations. (1998). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948-1998. United Nations Department of Public Information.

World Health Organization (2015). Community-based rehabilitation: CBR guidelines.

World Health Organization (2001). The international classification of functioning, disability and health. Author.

World Health Organization, Unesco, và International Labour Office (2004), CBR: A strategy for rehabilitation, equalization of opportunities, poverty reduction and social inclusion of people with disabilities. World Health Organization.

Wylie, K., McAllister, L., Davidson, B., Marshall, J., & Law, J. (2014). Adopting public health approaches to communication disability: challenges for the education of speech-language pathologists. Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica, 66(4-5), 164-175.

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