Student ethics essay competition

This is a pink graphic with the words, 2022 Student Ethics Essay Competition in white and the SPA logo.The Ethics Board of Speech Pathology Australia is excited to announce a student ethics essay competition for 2022!

The goal of the competition is to encourage students to consider ethical considerations within clinical practice, real life ethical decision-making examples and to explore tools they will use to navigate whils  in training for a future career.

1st Prize

The winning essay will be published in a forthcoming Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology special ethics edition in 2023.

The Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology (JCPSLP) is a major clinical publication of Speech Pathology Australia. JCPSLP is published three times each year, in March, July, and November and receives submissions from esteemed national and international researchers and clinicians from across the speech pathology profession. Publication within this journal would be a worthy inclusion on an individual's CV and an admirable discussion topic during future job interviews.

Competition criteria

To be eligible to participate in this competition, an entrant must be:

  • enrolled in an undergraduate or post graduate speech pathology degree program in Australia
  • enrolled part-time or full-time during the 2022 academic year.

An entrant does not need to be a member of Speech Pathology Australia to enter the competition.

2022 Student ethics essay title

Scenario: You are a qualified speech-language pathologist, recognised as an autonomous professional. Discuss some of the ethical considerations you would consider when providing speech-language pathology services to an individual and their family/carer, and how these ethical considerations might differ if you were an Allied Health Assistant (AHA).


Topic background

With the introduction of the NDIS in Australia, the role and activities undertaken by Allied Health Assistants (AHAs) has expanded. AHA work alongside allied health professionals within a delegated model to practically support individuals and communities who have communication and swallowing needs. Many student speech-language pathologists undertake AHA work during their university degree. However, the role and responsibilities of an AHA are different to those of a qualified speech-language pathologists.

Exploring this scenario requires students to reflect on the ethical considerations they will make as an autonomous professional once they are qualified and working as a speech-language pathologist. This also includes consideration of how a qualified speech-language pathologist might direct and support AHAs. It is essential that new graduates recognise their ethical and professional responsibilities and scope of their speech-language pathology role, and are able to differentiate these from their AHA colleagues.

Essay requirements

Word count

A maximum of 2500 words (including tables and a maximum of 30 references), excluding the title and author’s name.

Format and style

  • Submissions must be in a MS Word document format.
  • All content including references must follow the American Psychological Association (APA-7th Edition) (2020) style.
  • A maximum of five levels of heading (preferable 2-3 levels) should be used.
  • Clear and concise writing is best. Use short sentences and plain English.
  • It is recommended that all submissions follow the JCPSLP publishing guidelines.


Material submitted must be the entrant's own original work. All quotations and material drawn from other sources must be appropriately cited. If copyright clearance is required to use material included in an essay, the entrant must supply evidence that this has been obtained. Essays already published or being considered for other publications cannot be accepted.

Other considerations

  • Ensure that the submitted essay adheres to confidentiality and does not include any names or identifiable information.
  • Ensure that the essay demonstrates familiarity with Speech Pathology Australia Code of Ethics (2020) and demonstrate how it applies to the content and discussion.
  • Ensure that the entrant has considered cultural responsiveness in their paper and demonstrates respect for people of other cultures and races.
  • When appropriate an entrant may also want to consider other key Association documents such as the Professional Standards (2020), Reconciliation Action Plan (2021 - 2023), Speech Pathology 2030, Position Statement: Working with Support Workers (2014), and The Speech Pathology Scope of Practice in Australia (2022).

Evaluation criteria

Essays will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  • Reference to the Speech Pathology Australia Code of Ethics 2020 and other relevant SPA documents.
  • Clear, accurate and well-reasoned discussion, supported by appropriately chosen and cited evidence.
  • Scope of discussion including breath and number of ideas which are logically presented.
  • Originality of thought.
  • Concise writing, free of spelling mistakes, grammatical and punctuation errors and typographic mistakes.
  • Alignment with American Psychological Association (APA -7) (2020) style guidelines.

Submission Instructions

An essay should be submitted by email to Kelly Williams, Ethics Advisor with a subject line: ‘Student Essay Competition Submission’.

The essay competition closes on 31 October 2022.


Questions should be directed to Kelly Williams, Ethics Advisor, either by telephoning 1300 368 835 (Wednesday and Fridays) or by email.

The Association looks forward to receiving your entry!