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Introduction to Communication Disorders

WELCOME TO SPAU 260:01 Introduction to Communication Disorders.    This course is designed to introduce the student to the clinical practice of speech-language pathology and to facilitate the transition from the classroom to the clinical setting. Students will study the principles of assessment, application of diagnostic information, intervention planning, and the intervention process. Students will also gain an understanding of team membership and be introduced to the skills necessary for working on a team.

This is a course of research and practice regarding speech, hearing and language disorders in children and adults.  An overview of various speech, language, swallowing, and hearing disorders will be discussed in this course.  Factors related to the causes and severity of communication and swallowing disorders will also be explored.  Information regarding the professions associated with communication and swallowing disorders, especially speech-language pathologists and audiologists, will also be presented.


Pedagogical Approach

Students will demonstrate a basic introductory knowledge of common speech, language, and hearing disorders including etiologies, characteristics, prevention, assessment and intervention. It is to be understood that this is an introductory course that provides a foundation of general information to be built upon in the advanced courses of communication sciences and disorders that addresses knowledge and skills delineated in the ASHA Standards for the Certificate of Clinical Competence (

Students Will Learn

·       About normal processes of communication.

·       About disordered processes of communication.

·       About how communication disorders affect people’s lives.

·       About the professions of audiology and speech-language pathology.

·       Communication strategies to use with people with communication disorders.

·       To evaluate websites relating to speech, language, & hearing.

The following pedagogical conceptual framework competencies that I have developed guide the planning and delivery of instruction in this course.  Specific course objectives reflect this framework as they focus on the needs of the students for developing skills as professionals who will be knowledgeable, caring, and ethical decision-makers.

1.           Plan for Instruction

2.           Implementation and Management of Instruction

3.           Evaluation and Assessment

4.           Knowledge of Subject

5.           Behavior Management

6.           Communication Skills

7.           Professional Responsibilities

8.           Technology

9.           Diversity

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, the learner will be able to:

Define basic principles of assessment and intervention in communication disorders. ·      Conduct case history interviews, observations, and other forms of informal assessment. Evaluate the various components of formal tests used in various speech-language pathology settings.

Identify measurable goals and objectives for speech-language therapy.

Write a diagnostic report using appropriate format and language.

Discuss communication differences unique to a variety of cultural groups.

Student Learning Objectives:

1. Students will learn the professional writing standards appropriate for speech-language pathology practice.

2. Students will learn standards of evidence-based practice in speech-language pathology, including interpreting and applying current research.


1.   Quizzes (240 pts): All quizzes/exams will be given on Moodle using Respondus Lockdown Browser/Monitor unless otherwise specified.   

2.   Tests- There will be a two tests for this course.  Each test is worth 100 pts total=200 pts.   7.

3. LiveText Video Assignment (60 pts): Decision Making and Problem Solving.

 A LiveText Video Assignment Manual has been uploaded for you into MOODLE under Course Resources.   Each student is required to complete the following below: 

LiveText Reflection Video (40 points).  Each student will reflect on his or her decision to become a speech-language pathologist or audiologist. 

Answer the following questions in your video below"

1. What experiences and/or what people in your life have influenced your decision in pursuing a degree in the area of speech-language pathology or audiology? 

2. You may choose to reflect on the services of an SLP or AUD provided either to you or a family member currently or in the past. 

3. How do (or did) those services fit into the individual’s overall educational or rehabilitation program? 

4. Upon completion of your education, what are your plans in the field of speech-language pathology and/or audiology? Develop a 2-3-page paper that answers the questions above.  This assignment must be typed using FONT Size 12 APA format

Other Information

In this course, the student will demonstrate the following skills/competencies:

Describe the scope of practice for the professions of audiology and speech-language pathology, including the credentials needed for practice.

Describe communication disorders in historical perspective and how attitudes toward these disorders have changed.

Describe typical verbal and nonverbal communication development.

Describe the anatomy and physiology of the speech and voice mechanism

Describe etiologies and characteristics of various childhood language disorders and learning disabilities

Describe etiologies and characteristics of various adult language impairments, including general assessment and intervention strategies

Describe etiologies and characteristics of fluency disorders, including assessment and intervention strategies

Describe etiologies and characteristics of voice disorders, including assessment and intervention strategies

Describe etiologies and characteristics of speech production disorders, including assessment and intervention strategies

Describe etiologies and characteristics of cleft lip and palate, including assessment and intervention strategies

Describe etiologies and characteristics of swallowing disorders, including assessment and intervention strategies

Describe etiologies and characteristics of hearing disorders, including assessment and intervention strategies

Course Resources