Technical Standards

Introduction

The graduate degrees in Audiology (Au.D.) and Speech Pathology (M.S.) are recognized as broad degrees requiring the acquisition of general knowledge and basic skills in all applicable domains. The core curriculum is designed to support student attainment of the academic and clinical competencies needed for graduation, optional certification, and licensure. The education of speech-language pathologists and audiologists requires assimilation of knowledge, acquisition of skills, and development of judgment through client care experiences in preparation for independent and appropriate decisions required in practice. The current practices of speech-language pathology and audiology emphasize collaboration among audiologists, speech-language pathologists, other health care and education professionals, the client, and the client’s family.

Policy

The accredited graduate programs in speech-language pathology and audiology of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology (ASP) adhere to the standards set by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Within ASHA standards, the AUD program has the freedom and ultimate responsibility for: the selection of students; the design, implementation, and evaluation of the curriculum; the evaluation of student progress; and, the determination of who should be awarded a degree.

The AUD faculty has a responsibility for the welfare of clients tested, treated, or other- wise affected by students enrolled in the programs. The department has the responsibility to the public to assure that its graduates can become fully competent audiologists and speech-language pathologists, capable of delivering quality care in a timely manner and preserving the well-being of the clients they serve. Thus, it is important that persons ad- mitted, retained, and graduated possess the intelligence, integrity, compassion, humanitarian concern, and the physical and emotional capacity necessary to practice speech- language pathology or audiology.

The Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology, as part of the UAMS College of Health Professions, is committed to the principle of equal opportunity. The University, College, and the Department do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, or disability. When requested, the University, College, and the Department will provide reasonable accommodations to otherwise qualified students with properly certified disabilities. The AUD faculty has responsibility for the welfare of students in the department. In order to fulfill this responsibility, the department has established academic standards and minimum essential requirements that must be met, with or without reasonable accommodations, in order to participate in the program and graduate.

Essential Functions

In order to acquire the knowledge and skills requisite to the practice of speech-language pathology and audiology, to function in a broad variety of clinical situations, and to render a wide spectrum of client care, students must have essential skills and attributes in five areas:  communication, motor/physical health, intellectual-cognitive, sensory-observational, and behavioral-social.  These skills enable a student to meet graduate and professional requirements as measured by state and national credentialing agencies.  Many of these skills can be learned and developed during the course of the graduate program through coursework and clinical experience.  Failure to meet, maintain, or progress in obtaining the essential functions may result in action against the student, including, but not limited to, dismissal from the program.

Communication

A student must possess adequate communication skills to:

  • Use speech, hearing, vision, and the English language to communicate effectively with clients, faculty, staff, peers, and other health care professionals in both oral and written form (i.e. therapy plans, progress notes, diagnostic reports, telecommunications).
  • Communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written forms including classroom projects, presentations, research, and in clinical reports.
  • Modify his/her communication style to meet diverse communicative needs.
  • Communicate in a succinct, yet comprehensive manner and in settings where time limits may be imposed.
  • Assess and effectively communicate all relevant information including the significance of non-verbal responses.
  • Assess incoming information to allow for appropriate, well-focused follow-up inquiries.
  • Listen responsively and empathetically to establish rapport in a way that promotes openness on issues of concern and sensitivity to potential cultural differences.
  • Express his/her ideas and feelings clearly and demonstrate a willingness and ability to give and receive feedback.

Motor / Physical Health

A student must possess adequate motor skills and physical health to:

  • Execute movements reasonably required to move from area to area, maneuver in small places, use equipment, materials and technology (i.e. microphones, hearing aids, computers, augmentative/assistive communication devices, etc.) as needed to provide clients with appropriate care.
  • Access transportation to clinical and academic placements.
  • Provide for his/her own personal hygiene.
  • Possess the physical health and stamina needed to carry out the speech-language pathology and audiology programs.
  • Have sufficient use of motor skills to carry out all necessary clinical procedures, both those involved in learning the fundamental sciences and those required in the clinical environment.

Intellectual / Cognitive

A student must possess adequate intellectual and cognitive skills to:

  • Participate in clinical settings and achieve the levels of competence required by the academic and clinical faculty and off-campus supervisors.
  • Solve problems critical to the practice of speech-language pathology and audiology.
  • Self-evaluate, identify, and communicate limits of one’s own knowledge and skills.
  • Identify and utilize resources to increase knowledge and skills.
  • Utilize detailed written and verbal instruction to make unique and independent decisions.
  • Measure, calculate, reason, analyze, and synthesize as needed in the academic and clinical arenas.
  • Demonstrate the mental capacity to learn and assimilate professional information including the ability to read and comprehend professional literature and reports.
  • Solve clinical problems through critical analysis.
  • Seek relevant case information, synthesize, and apply concepts and information from various sources and disciplines.
  • Write discipline-specific papers and clinical reports in English.  These must be professional and grammatically correct.
  • Maintain attention and concentration for sufficient time to complete clinical activities.
  • Schedule and prioritize activities.
  • Demonstrate the ability to divide attention (i.e. multitask).
  • Demonstrate the ability to master information presented in course work in the form of lectures, written materials, projected images, and lab activities.
  • Acquire the information presented through demonstrations and experiences in the clinical training portion of the program
  • Observe clients accurately and interpret non-verbal communication when performing clinical assessments and treatment activities.

Sensory / Observational

A student must possess adequate senses of vision and hearing to:

  • Accurately observe clients and interpret and analyze their behaviors.
  • Adequately treat clients and use equipment appropriately.
  • Visually monitor client responses and materials.
  • Make accurate judgments about speech and/or acoustic signals.

Behavioral / Social

A student must possess adequate behavioral, ethical, emotional, and social attributes to:

  • Display mature, empathetic, and effective relationships by exhibiting compassion, integrity, and concern for others.
  • Recognize and show respect for individuals of different ages, genders, races, religions, sexual orientations, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, and disabilities.
  • Recognize and make adjustments when a client’s family does or does not understand the clinician’s written and/or verbal communication.
  • Maintain generally good emotional and mental health to fully utilize his/her intellectual abilities and exercise good judgment including prompt completion of all academic and clinical responsibilities. Seek assistance when needed.
  • Display good judgment and behave in a professional, reliable, mature, and responsible manner.
  • Demonstrate flexibility and adaptability to function in new and stressful environments.
  • Evaluate his/her own performance and be forthright about errors, accept constructive criticism, and look for ways to improve academic and clinical performance.
  • Exhibit professional appearance and demeanor by conforming to appropriate standards of dress, appearance, language, and public behavior, including social media.
  • Uphold the Code of Ethics of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the Health Information Privacy and Accountability Act, as well as the departmental Honor Code.

Each student must continue to meet all of the Technical Standards set forth.  A student may be denied permission to continue in the Master of Science Program in Speech Pathology or the Doctor of Audiology Program at UAMS should the he/she fail at any time to demonstrate all of the required Technical Standards.

Candidates for the Master of Science in Communicative Disorders (M.S.) and/or the Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) who have been accepted for admission will be required to verify that they understand and meet these essential functions. Admission decisions are made on the assumption that each candidate can meet the essential functions and fulfill essential functions without consideration of disability.

Students have the responsibility to self-identify as a person with a disability with a need for accommodation(s). Students should submit all requests for adjustments, including auxiliary aids, to the UAMS ADA/Disability Services Coordinator. The ADA/Disability Services office at UAMS will review a student’s request for accommodation and confirm that the stated condition qualifies as a disability under applicable laws. If an applicant states she/he can meet the essential functions with accommodation, then the department will determine whether it agrees that the student can meet the essential functions with reasonable accommodation; this includes a review of whether the accommodation would jeopardize client safety or the educational process of the student or the institution, including all coursework and internships/practicum placements deemed essential to graduation. At any time in the course of a student’s enrollment in the department, should their needs change; the student can request accommodation through office.  The ADA/Disability Services Coordinator and the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology will jointly decide what accommodations are suitable and possible in terms of reasonable accommodation, and will render the person capable of performing all essential functions established by the program.

Reference:  Adapted from the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders (2007)


Rev. 08-15-2019