BSc Speech and Language Therapy / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Acquired Communication and Swallowing Disabilities B

Course unit fact file
Unit code PCHN30310
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Full year
Available as a free choice unit? No


This unit runs across the third year of study and forms the second part of the Acquired Communication and Swallowing Disorders theme within the programme (Part A is in Year 2).

Through lectures and patient-based materials and clinical video data, students will further develop their understanding of these acquired communication and swallowing disorders. Students will integrate knowledge of discreet disorders into an awareness and understanding of co-morbidities and complex disability. Clinical management will also be placed within the legal and ethical framework to explore both policy and practical aspects of working in complex medical and/or elderly and/or end of life care.


The unit aims to:

  • Provide students with opportunities to gain knowledge and understanding of the theory, assessment and management of further acquired communication and swallowing disorders (including voice, head and neck cancer, dementia/ psychiatry, and acquired brain injury).
  • Provide students with opportunities to consider acquired communication and swallowing disorders in the context of the aging society, multiple co-morbidities and complex disability, and end of life clinical care.
  • Provide students with opportunities to review the policy framework with respect to end of life care, mental capacity and consent, and ethics in clinical practice.

Learning outcomes

Students will be able to:

Knowledge and understanding

  • Identify the implications of the full range of acquired disorders of communication and swallowing (including voice, head and neck cancer, dementia/ psychiatry, and acquired brain injury) and illustrate the possible contribution of social, psychological and medical factors to communication and swallowing.
  • 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.

Intellectual skills

  • Analyse the trends in society and advancements in medical care towards clinically typical complex presentations, e.g. in the context of an aging, multi-lingual society.
  • Appraise the clinical guidelines and legal framework within which clinical practice occurs, drawing reasoned conclusions as to implications for speech and language therapists.

Practical skills

  • Demonstrate their ability to access, understand and critically evaluate on an ongoing basis the extensive literature related to communication and swallowing disorders, including clinical guidelines and relevant NHS and professional guidance.
  • Recognise the importance of obtaining informed consent and the challenges surrounding this in the context of neuro-disability. 
  • Utilise library, electronic and online resources in doing so.
  • Explain where clinical supervision and multi-disciplinary referral are clinically warranted.
  • Consider students' personal responses to distress in working with clinical conditions and ways to manage well-being, supporting resilience and self-preservation.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Review the policy framework for complex disability, end of life care and ethics in clinical practice.
  • Synthesise this framework into holistic clinical care and justify this in the context of detailed complex clinical case management.

Teaching and learning methods

Learning and teaching processes will utilise a mix of tutor led lectures, problem based group learning tasks, clinical video analysis and reasoning, 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.

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 detailed description of complex clinical management in the regulatory contexts will be worked towards in preparation for the student clinical case management assignments.

Assessment methods

  1. Complex clinical management assignment (4000 words, 100%)

Feedback methods

A summative mark and individual, detailed tutor written feedback is provided following the complex clinical management assignment. Tutor written feedback on group performance will also be made available to students.

Tutor written and verbal feedback will be provided following problem-based learning tasks, clinical reasoning with video data, and on any group presentations.

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

Recommended reading

NICE (2015): Dementia: Supporting people with dementia and their carers in health and social care.

NHS England (2015): Actions for End of Life Care: 2014-16,

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Tutorials 48
Independent study hours
Independent study 152

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Paul Conroy Unit coordinator

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