Incorporating speech-language pathology within Australian neonatal intensive care units Academic Article uri icon


  • Working in neonatal intensive care units (NICU) is considered to be advanced practice for speech-language pathologists (SLPs) requiring post-graduate specialised education and ongoing clinical mentoring, not easily accessible within some countries such as Australia. This review investigated whether there was evidence to support SLPs as core NICU team members, rather than fleeting therapists. The review found that the roles and responsibilities of SLPs in NICUs included assessment and intervention of preterm infant communication, feeding and swallowing using a family-centred approach. This approach was respectful of the cultural and linguistic diversity of the parents and the particular expertise of other NICU team members. Whilst there has been a significant and promising increase in research with regard to SLP involvement with preterm infants (especially around feeding and swallowing assessment and specific treatments), the need for high-quality well-designed research is essential.

publication date

  • September 2012