Essential Functions


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.


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 Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA). Within CAA 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 or 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, 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 or maintain essential functions may result in action against the student, including, but not limited to, dismissal from the program.


A student must possess adequate communication skills to:

  • Speak, hear and observe others for the purpose of eliciting and/or perceiving
  • Communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written
  • Modify their communication style to meet diverse communicative


A student must possess adequate motor skills 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, AAC devices, ) as needed to provide clients with appropriate general care.
  • Access transportation to clinical and academic
  • Participate in classroom and clinical activities for the defined

Intellectual / Cognitive

A student must possess adequate intellectual, ethical, emotional, and cognitive skills to:

  • Achieve academic and clinical knowledge and
  • Participate in clinical settings and achieve the levels of competence required by the academic and clinical faculty and off-campus
  • Solve problems critical to the practice of speech-language pathology and
  • Self-evaluate, identify, and communicate limits of one’s own knowledge and
  • Identify and utilize resources in order to increase knowledge and
  • Utilize detailed written and verbal instruction in order to make unique and in- dependent
  • Measure, calculate reason, analyze, and synthesize as needed in the academic and clinical

Sensory / Observational

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

  • Accurately observe clients and interpret and analyze their
  • Adequately treat clients and use equipment

Behavioral / Social

A student must possess adequate behavioral and social attributes to:

  • Display mature, empathetic, and effective professional relationships by exhibiting compassion, integrity, and concern for
  • Recognize and show respect for individuals of different ages, genders, races, religions, sexual orientations, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, and
  • Recognize when a client’s family does or does not understand the clinician’s written and/or verbal
  • Maintain generally good emotional and mental health to fully utilize their intellectual abilities and exercise good judgment including prompt completion of all academic and clinical

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.

The Disability Support 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 the Disability Support Services office.

Disability Support Services 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. 8-12-09