Practice Guidelines

Speech Pathology Australia (the Association) produces a range of practice documents to provide current information and/or opinion on professional practice and workplace issues.  Practice documents include: Practice Guidelines, Position Statements and Core Association documents. 

A Practice Guideline:

  • provides a comprehensive outline on professional practice and workplace issues in a specific area of speech pathology practice
  • reflects available best evidence and best practice at a point in time
  • is written for speech pathologists however may also be referenced by stakeholders such as management and consumers
  • maybe utilised to inform, guide and monitor speech pathology practice at an individual and organisational level.

A Practice Guideline may be complemented by a Position Statement.  A Position Statement outlines the position of the Association on a particular topic and has an intended audience of external stakeholders, consumers, employers, other professional associations, funding bodies, policy makers and speech pathologists.

All practice documents should be read in conjunction with the Association Core Documents

Accessing Documents

Electronic versions are available to members free of charge. Due to current COVID-19 restrictions hard copies are not available at this time. Practice Guidelines and other Association documents may be purchased by non-members. Please contact the Association's Publications Manager, [email protected] for more information and to receive an order form. 

Practice Guidelines

Augmentative and Alternative Communication

This guideline is for speech pathologists assessing, treating, and supporting individuals with complex communication needs who may benefit from augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). The guideline is evidence-based and incorporates recent research, but it is not intended as an exhaustive examination of or an instructional manual on the topic. In order to achieve the best possible outcomes for people with complex communication needs, speech pathologists support clients using AAC in collaboration with a multi-professional (multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and trans- disciplinary) team using family and person-centred, inclusive, and rights-based approaches.
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Autism Practice Guideline This is an animated Gif that flashes the word new in red out of a yellow background.

This practice guide has been developed to support speech pathologists to deliver services to autistic people and their families. It aims to:

  • outline the role of speech pathologists in working with autistic people and their families
  • summarise key considerations in the delivery of services
  • identify knowledge and skills that are particularly relevant to this area of professional practice
  • present key resources that can inform speech pathologists’ practice.

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The Autism Practice Guideline should be read in conjunction with the Association's Position Statement: Working with Autistic People.

Dysphagia: General

This guideline provides information and guidance for speech pathologists on professional practice and workplace issues relevant to the area of dysphagia. The guideline is intended to be applied across the lifespan. The topics and content of the guideline address dysphagia professional practice across a variety of settings including community, education, disability, domiciliary, acute and rehabilitation hospital settings, and aged care.
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Evidence Based Speech Pathology Practice for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

This guideline has been developed to support speech pathologists in their delivery of speech pathology services to individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families. The aims of the guideline are to define: (a) speech pathologists’ scope of practice when working with individuals with ASD and their families; (b) the principles of best practice based on the current research evidence, and (c) the knowledge and skills that speech pathologists require in order to screen, assess, diagnose, treat, and consult effectively with individuals with ASD and their families. This guideline should be read with the Association's Position Statement The role and responsibility of speech pathologists in assessing, diagnosing and treating clients on the autism spectrum disorder (2016).
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Flexible Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES)

This guideline has been developed to support speech pathologists in the implementation of FEES in Australian healthcare contexts. The guideline aims to:

  • define practice principles and standards relating to the use of FEES for adults and children
  • provide supporting evidence, where this exists, for these practice principles and standards.

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Informed Choice and Shared Decision Making with People who Eat and Drink with Acknowledged Risk

Speech pathologists may work with people who choose to manage the risks associated with their dysphagia. This may include a decision not to follow speech pathology recommendations regarding dysphagia management. In these situations, speech pathologists may feel challenged by ethical and professional considerations and require additional clarity about their professional role and responsibilities. This guideline has been developed to guide and support speech pathologists address the complexities of working with this population, including legal issues and ethical considerations. It should be read with the Associaton's Position Statement: The role of the speech pathologist in supporting informed choice and decision making in dysphagia (2019).
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Laryngectomy

This guideline provides speech pathologists with comprehensive information about the management of individuals who have had a laryngectomy, from the pre-operative phase through to the long-term/ongoing management phase. The topics and content of the guideline address all aspects of communication and swallowing, and other important rehabilitation areas of focus such as humidification and olfaction. This guideline does not address management of individuals with other head and neck cancers.
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Literacy

This revised guideline provides evidence-based recommendations for how speech pathologists may apply their knowledge and skills in literacy practice. The guideline has been developed to reflect the expanding role and evidence to support the role of speech pathologists in the field of literacy, and is designed for speech pathologists who work directly or indirectly in the literacy domain with infants, pre-schoolers, primary and secondary school students. The guideline does not address acquired literacy disorders nor does it focus on specific intervention needs of children according to factors including their gender, language background, developmental delay, sensory impairment chronic illness or disability.
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Speech Pathology in Education

This guideline replaces the 2011 Speech Pathology Services in Schools Clinical Guideline. The purpose for this update is twofold: 1) to reflect contemporary speech pathology practice in education settings in Australia and current best practice principles; and 2) to broaden the scope of the document to include speech pathology practice in early childhood education settings.

The guideline provides a practice framework for speech pathologists working with education settings in Australia. It identifies a range of professional practices and guiding principles that inform the provision of best practice speech pathology services in schools.

The intended audience for this document is speech pathologists providing services in Australian education settings. Aspects of the document may also be relevant to professionals from education services, consumers and researchers. This guideline should be read in conjunction with the Association's Position Statement: Speech pathology in education (2022).
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Speech Pathology in Justice

This guideline has been developed in response to the increased recognition of the high prevalence of speech, language and communication needs in populations accessing the justice system, and the critical role of speech pathologists in effective management of these difficulties. The primary audience for this guideline is speech pathologists, both those working in specific justice settings as well as those who, regardless of practice setting, may work with individuals who have had, or will have, contact with the justice system. The guideline may also be useful to service users, policy makers and researchers. This Guideline should be read in conjunction with the Associaiton's Position Statement: Speech pathology in justice (2019).
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Speech Pathology in Mental Health

This guideline provides a comprehensive outline of professional practice and workplace issues related to speech pathology practice in mental health services in Australia. It aims to (a) improve the understanding of communication and swallowing in the context of mental health, (b) highlight the need for early intervention and prevention programs and (c) outline the role of speech pathologists in mental health services. The primary audience for this guideline is speech pathologists but it may also be of use to mental health service providers, consumers and researchers. This guideline should be read in conjunction with the Association's Position Statement: Speech pathology in mental health (2018).
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Stuttering Management

This guideline seeks to supports speech pathology practice with individuals who stutter and their families. It incorporates the principles of evidence based practice - best available evidence, professional expertise, context and the needs of individuals who stutter and their families. Recommendations in the guideline are formulated for implementation by speech pathologists; they are not intended for use by other personnel who work with individuals who stutter. This guideline should be read in conjunction with the Association's Position Statement: Stuttering management (2020).
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Telepractice This is an animated Gif that flashes the word new in red out of a yellow background.

The Principles of Practice for Telepractice in Speech Pathology provides information and guidance necessary to plan, develop and implement telepractice services across a variety of settings and services. It is intended to be used by speech pathologists in Australia to ensure that their telepractice services meet the relevant standards of practice at an individual and organisational level. The document is informed by the literature and consensus expert opinion from the assembled national telepractice working party. It provides references and links to useful websites and information on telepractice.
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Also see Telepractice Position Statement.

Tracheostomy

This revised guideline reflects best practice for speech pathologists working with individuals who have a tracheostomy. The guideline provides information about the speech pathology management of the neonate, child and adult with a tracheostomy. It is not intended as a how-to manual, but rather as a guideline of tracheostomy-specific information and management principles based on current best evidence and consensus. Whilst management of individuals with a tracheostomy requires a multidisciplinary approach, this guideline focuses on the role of the speech pathologists within the team, and refers to other team members as relevant.
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Videofluoroscopy Swallowing Study (VFSS)

This guideline provides evidence-based guidelines for the assessment and management of individuals with dysphagia using the Videofluoroscopic Swallow Study (VFSS). It is intended for both child and adult populations with oral-pharyngeal dysphagia of any cause and presentation. This guideline has been developed to ensure comprehensive evidence-based information on VFSS is available to all speech pathologists providing VFSS services. It is specific to the role of VFSS in dysphagia management and does not provide information on general dysphagia management. VFSS is one part of the decision making process in dysphagia management and results will need to be interpreted within a person-centred approach alongside other influencing factors.
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Voice Best Practice Principles Resource

The purpose of this document is to identify and describe a range of professional practices and principles informed by the literature and consensus opinion which guide the provision of quality speech pathology services to individuals with voice problems and related laryngeal disorders in the Australian context. This document is intended for use by speech pathologists in Australia to ensure that relevant standards of practice are being met at an individual and organisational level.
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Working in a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Society

This Guideline has three main purposes:

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