Literacy has been identified as a basic human right (Coomans, 2007; "Literacy," 2016).
Successful literacy development is founded on language skills that originally develop in the oral modality.
Literacy development, in turn, further enhances and extends oral language abilities across the lifespan.
Speech Pathology organisations around many parts of the globe (including Australia, New Zealand,
Canada and the USA) are unified in the statements regarding the role that speech pathologists have in
the literacy domain. This is driven by the theoretical principles regarding the intimate relationship between
acquiring oral language and communication, and learning to become literate.
This clinical guideline has been developed to provide guidance to speech pathologists working in the
The aims of the clinical guideline are:
To document the scope of practice for speech pathologists working in literacy from infancy to
adolescents (upper high school);
To provide recommendations on applying speech pathologists’ knowledge and expertise in the
To provide evidence based approaches for speech pathologists in the field of literacy.
The Speech Pathology Australia Association:
endorses the critical role of speech pathologists in prevention, identification, and management of
literacy difficulties from infancy to adolescents;
advocates that speech pathologists work collaboratively with the education team to provide literacy
asserts speech pathologists should use evidence-based approaches;
asserts speech pathologists should engage in continuing professional development activities
relevant to their area of practice.
This guideline demonstrates speech pathologists have the knowledge, skills and competencies to be
providing services across a broad scope of practice in the literacy domain. This includes promotion of oral
language and emergent literacy skills, early identification and intervention for at risk children in the
beginning years of school, and assessment, management and intervention for students in mid and later
years of school.
The guideline provides recommendations derived from the best available research evidence on how
speech pathologists may apply their knowledge and skills across the scope of practice.
The recommendations are situated in an Australian context but are applicable to international speech
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