BSc Speech and Language Therapy / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Acquired Communication and Swallowing Disabilities A

Course unit fact file
Unit code PCHN20310
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Full year
Available as a free choice unit? No


This unit runs across the second year of study and forms the first part of the Acquired Communication and Swallowing Disabilities theme within the programme (Part B is in Year 3).

Through lectures and problem-based learning tasks utilising patient-based materials, students will explore their understanding of aphasia, dysarthria, apraxia and dysphagia. They will begin to develop the clinical skills of assessment and treatment and develop theoretical knowledge and skills in relation to the role of the speech and language therapist in clinical case management.


The unit aims to:

  • Provide students with opportunities to gain knowledge and understanding of the theory, assessment and management of acquired communication disabilities (aphasia, dysarthria and apraxia) related to neurological damage or disease in adults.
  • Provide students with opportunities to gain knowledge and understanding of the theory, assessment and management of a range of swallowing disorders, primarily related to neurological damage.
  • Provide students with opportunities to gain knowledge and understanding of the psycho-social impact of communication and swallowing problems related to neurological impairment in adults.

Learning outcomes

Students will be able to:

Knowledge and understanding

  • Describe the implications of a range of neurological disabilities for communication and swallowing and identify the possible contribution of social, psychological and medical factors to communication and swallowing.
  • Appraise the theory and recent research in these areas and evaluate and adapt this literature to clinical practice, to understand the need for this on an ongoing basis.
  • Debate the ethical and legal implications of withholding and withdrawing feeding/nutrition and analyze the implications for clinical management.

Intellectual skills

  • Synthesize a range of relevant theoretical approaches to assessment and clinical management planning for people with acquired speech disabilities, including use of alternative forms of communication.
  • Report on the normal swallow and make reasoned conclusions as to assessment and management of disordered swallowing in adults, including health education.

Practical skills

  • Demonstrate their ability to access, understand and critically evaluate the extensive literature, using reasoned decision making, in acquired language, motor speech and swallowing disabilities. This will include clinical guidelines and relevant NHS and professional guidance.
  • Utilise library, electronic and online resources in this context.
  • Describe integrated and holistic virtual case management using real clinical data.
  • Develop the skills to evaluate the effects of their management.
  • Generate constructive comments in peer review of virtual clinical management.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Define the range of methods used by speech and language therapists working with carers, families, other disciplines and agencies involved with people with acquired speech and swallowing disabilities.
  • Utilize word processing, power-point and visual media to present their awareness of these methods through oral presentations.
  • Demonstrate critical skills in finding and evaluating research literature.
  • Define the role of the speech and language therapist working with carers, families, other disciplines and agencies involved with the full range of people with acquired speech and swallowing problems.
  • Be able to give examples where MDT referral and clinical supervision may be necessary.
  • To demonstrate the need for aphasia accessible decision making and goal setting materials.
  • To have consolidated understanding of need for contemporaneous notes and referrals.
  • To identify student's personal response to distressing clinical conditions and how to manage their own emotional wellbeing.

Teaching and learning methods

Learning and teaching processes will utilise a mix of tutor led lectures, SLT simulation clinics, problem based group learning tasks, group clinical video analysis and clinical reasoning tasks, student presentations, peer critical review and directed individual reading and study. Students will also have the opportunity to learn from service users.

To support independent study, learning materials including lecture slides and recommended reading will be provided before teaching sessions on the unit's online Blackboard learning environment. Pre-recorded podcasts of key learning material will also be available on Blackboard.

Simulation clinics and problem-based learning group work will generate appropriate and justified virtual clinical data, followed by planning of holistic and integrated clinical management.

Synthesis of information and guidelines on clinical management will be provided in student-generated clinical manuals on the key clinical presentations (aphasia, dysarthria).

Assessment methods

Clinical case-based assignment on dysphagia, dysarthria/neurology and aphasia (3000 words, 100%)

Feedback methods

A mark and individual, detailed tutor written feedback is provided following the clinical case-based assignment. This individual feedback will provide guidance to students on their examination skills for future assessments.

Throughout the unit, students will have the opportunity to self-evaluate their work and understanding against class discussion and tutor comment.

Recommended reading

Papathanasiou, I., Coppens, P., Potagas, C. (Ed.) (2012). Aphasia and Related Neurogenic Communication Disorders. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Hillis, A. E. (Ed.) (2015). The Handbook of Adult Language Disorders. Second edition. New York: Psychology Press.

Logemann, J. (1983, 1998). Evaluation and Treatment of Swallowing Disorders. West Burleigh, Queensland: Pro-Ed Australia.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 47
Seminars 7
Independent study hours
Independent study 146

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Claire Mitchell Unit coordinator

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