January speech-language pathologist’s scope of practice regarding


January 20, 2018

SPL Scope of Practice

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Describe the Roles and
Responsibilities of Speech-Language Pathologists practicing within Canada:

Speech-language pathologists can practice individually or as
a team by collaborating with other healthcare professionals who are also
involved with the client such as physicians, audiologists, nurses, educators,
dietitians, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists, child care
staff and social workers. The responsibilities of a speech-language pathologist
include assessing and managing educational and workplace environments, as well
as continuous communication with government officials, the community, other
speech-language pathologists, and third-party insurers regarding
benefits/pension plans. In addition, they are responsible for assessments of
individuals with communication impairments as well as determining if such
individuals have the capacity to fulfill their employment requirements and if
there are any accommodations that are needed to help them do so (1,3).


Describe the five Clinical Services
that fall within the scope of practice for Speech-Language Pathologists in

Services provided by speech-language pathologists include screening
the client’s hearing, communication and/or swallowing in order to determine if a
complete assessment should be done. These screenings may then be followed-up by
referrals to SLPs, audiologists or other professionals for further evaluation.

Clinical services also include both formal and informal assessment of the
client’s communication and swallowing abilities, which often include evaluation,
diagnosis and counselling. They are also required to provide a form of intervention
for the communication and swallowing disorders they diagnose, such as promotion,
prevention, counselling, treatment, consultation, management, (re)habilitation
and education. Additionally, SPLs provide a measurement of a client’s outcomes
for the services provided as well as referrals to other professionals (2).


List at least ten Clinical Areas of
Service that fall within the scope of practice for Speech-Language Pathologists
in Canada (2):

speech sound production




pre-linguistic communication

language comprehension and

pre-literacy and literacy skills

cognitive communication

social (pragmatic) communication

feeding and swallowing

alternative and augmentative

aural (re)habilitation

accent modification


4. Describe the scope of practice
related to Prevention, Promotion, and Advocacy:

A speech-language pathologist’s scope of practice regarding
prevention involves counselling and educating clients and their families, caregivers,
other professionals as well as the general public concerning communication and
swallowing abilities. Speech-language pathologists are also required to promote
practices that enhance the development of optimal communication and swallowing
health. They are also encouraged to promote speech-language pathology as a
profession. The scope of practice relating to advocacy requires to SLP to
advocate for clients with communication and swallowing disorders as well as for
individuals who are at risk. In addition, they are expected to advocate for the
profession of speech-language pathology (3).