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Alabama SLP Scope of Practice

How is speech therapy defined in Alabama?

“Speech‐Language Pathology,” the application of principles, methods and procedures related to the development, disorders and effectiveness of human communication and related functions including but not limited to providing prevention, screening, consultation, assessment and diagnosis, treatment, intervention, management, counseling and follow‐up services for disorders of speech (i.e. articulation, fluency, resonance and voice), language (i.e., phonology, morphology, syntax, pre‐literacy and language‐based literacy skills), swallowing or other upper aerodigestive functions; and cognitive aspects of communication (i.e. attention, memory, problem solving).

The practice of speech‐language pathology also includes establishing augmentative and alternative communication techniques and strategies; including developing, selecting and prescribing of such systems and devices (e.g., speech generating devices); providing services to individuals with hearing loss and their families (e.g., auditory training, speech‐reading, speech and language intervention secondary to hearing loss); screening hearing of individuals who can participate in conventional pure‐tone air conduction methods and screening middle ear pathology through screening tympanometry for the purpose of referral for further evaluation; using instrumentation (e.g., videofluroscopy) to observe, collect data and measure parameters of communication and swallowing; selecting, fitting and establishing effective use of prosthetic/adaptive devices for communication, swallowing or other upper aerodigestive functions (does not include sensory devices used by individuals with hearing loss); and providing services to modify or enhance communication performance.

What is included in the practice of speech therapy?

The practice of speech‐language pathology includes:

Providing screening, identification, assessment, diagnosis, treatment, intervention (i.e. prevention, restoration, amelioration, compensation) and follow‐up services for disorders of:

    • Speech: articulation, fluency, voice (including respiration, phonation, and resonance)
    • Language (involving the parameters of phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics; and including disorders of receptive and expressive communication in oral, written, graphic, and manual modalities)
    • Oral, pharyngeal, cervical esophageal, and related functions, (e.g. dysphagia, including disorders of swallowing and oral function of feeding; orofacial myofunctional disorders)
    • Cognitive aspects of communication (including communication disability and other functional disabilities associated with cognitive impairment)
    • Social aspects of communication (including challenging behavior, ineffective social skills, lack of communication opportunities).
    • Providing consultation and counseling, and making referrals when appropriate;
    • Training and supporting family members and other communication partners of individuals with speech, voice, language communication, and swallowing disabilities;
    • Developing and establishing effective augmentative and alternative communication techniques and strategies, including selecting, prescribing, and dispensing aids and devices and training individuals, their families, and other communication partners in their use;
    • Selecting, fitting, and establishing effective use of appropriate prosthetic/adaptive devices for speaking and swallowing (e.g. tracheoesophageal valves, electrolarynges, speaking valves);
    • Using instrumental technology to diagnose and treat disorders of communication and swallowing (e.g., videofluoroscopy, nasenodoscopy, ultrasonography, stroboscopy);
    • Providing aural rehabilitation and related counseling services to individuals with hearing loss and their families;
    • Collaborating in the assessment of central auditory processing disorders in cases in which there is evidence of speech, language, and/or other cognitive‐ communication disorders; providing intervention for individuals with central auditory processing disorders;
    • Conducting pure tone air conduction hearing screening and screening tympanometry for the purpose of the initial identification and/or referral of individuals with other communication disorders or possible middle ear pathology;
    • Enhancing speech and language proficiency and communication effectiveness, including but not limited to accent reduction, collaboration with teachers of English as a second language, and improvement of voice, performance, and singing;
    • Training and supervising support personnel;
    • Developing and managing academic and clinical programs in communication sciences and disorders;
    • Conducting, disseminating, and applying research in communication sciences and disorders;
    • Measuring outcomes of treatment and conducting continuous evaluation of the effectiveness of practices and programs to improve and maintain quality of services.

What is specifically excluded from the practice?

N/A

Reference

Ala. Code § 34-28A-1

Ala. Admin. Code r. 870‐X‐1‐.01

Ala. Admin. Code r. 870‐X‐7‐.02

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