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Colorado SLP Scope of Practice

How does Colorado define the practice of speech-language pathology?

"Speech-language pathology" means the application of principles, methods, and procedures related to the development, disorders, and effectiveness of human communication and related functions, which includes providing prevention, screening, consultation, assessment or evaluation, treatment, intervention, management, counseling, collaboration, and referral services for disorders of:

    • Speech, such as speech sound production, fluency, resonance, and voice;
    • Language, such as phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatic and social communication skills, and literacy skills;
    • Feeding and swallowing; and
    • Cognitive aspects of communication, such as attention, memory, executive functioning, and problem solving.

What is included in the practice of speech-language pathology?

"Speech-language pathology" also includes establishing augmentative and alternative communication techniques and strategies, including the following:

    • Developing, selecting, and prescribing augmentative or alternative communication systems and devices, such as speech generating devices;
    • Providing services to individuals with hearing loss and their families, such as auditory training, speech reading, or speech and language intervention secondary to hearing loss;
    • Screening individuals for hearing loss or middle ear pathology using conventional pure-tone air conduction methods, including otoscopic inspection, otoacoustic emissions, or screening tympanometry;
    • Using instrumentation such as videofluroscopy, endoscopy, or stroboscopy to observe, collect data, and measure parameters of communication and swallowing;
    • Selecting, fitting, and establishing effective use of prosthetic or adaptive devices for communication, swallowing, or other upper aerodigestive functions, not including sensory devices used by individuals with hearing loss or the orthodontic movement of teeth for the purpose of correction of speech pathology conditions; and
    • Providing services to modify or enhance communication performance, such as accent modification and personal or professional communication efficacy.

Expanded Scope of Practice for Speech-Language Pathologists pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order D 2020 038

The basis for these rules is Executive Order D 2020-038 issued by Governor Jared Polis pursuant to the State of Emergency Declaration found in Executive Orders 2020 003, 2020 027 and 2020 032, Article IV, Section 2 of the Colorado Constitution, the Colorado Disaster Emergency Act, sections 24-33.5-701, et. seq., C.R.S., and sections 12-20-204 and 12-305-115, C.R.S.

These Emergency Rules are adopted by the Director of the Division of Professions and Occupations (Director) to effectuate Executive Order D 2020 038 directing the immediate expansion of the workforce of trained medical personnel available to provide healthcare services within inpatient facilities due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in Colorado.

Expanded Scope of Practice. Speech-language pathologists may perform services while working in a hospital or inpatient facility as delegated by physicians, physician assistants, advanced practice registered nurses, certified registered nurse anesthetists, professional nurses and respiratory therapists.

    • Speech-language pathologists are authorized to perform delegated services upon adequate cross-training as determined necessary by the hospital or inpatient facility
    • Speech-language pathologists shall not accept delegation of a service for which the licensee does not possess the knowledge, skill or training to perform.
    • Speech-language pathologists shall not perform a delegated service for which the licensee does not possess the knowledge, skill or training to perform.
    • Delegated services shall not be re-delegated to another person or licensee by the delegatee.
    • Speech-language pathologists shall not prescribe or select medications, perform surgical or other invasive procedures or perform anesthesia services regardless of delegation.


Colo. Rev. Stat. § 12-305-104

Governor’s Executive Order D 2020 038

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