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Board of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology

Practice Information for Speech-Language Pathology Assistants

Definition

'Speech-language pathology assistant' is defined as an individual who provides speech-language pathology services as prescribed, directed, and supervised by a speech-language pathologist licensed under this chapter. A person represents himself to be a speech-language pathology assistant when he holds himself out to the public by any title or description of services incorporating the words 'speech aid', 'speech-language support personnel', 'speech assistant', 'communication aid', 'communication assistant', 'speech pathology technician', or any similar variation of these terms, to describe a function or service he performs.

Practice Requirements and Prohibitions

Education

A bachelors degree in Speech-Language Pathology must include as a minimum the following core curriculum of 36 semester hours and not less than 100 clock hours of clinical practicum.

1. Directed Teaching in Speech Correction (6 Semester Hours)

  • 100 clock hours of supervised clinical practicum in not less than two different sites.

2. Basic Area (6 Semester Hours)

  • Anatomy, physiology, mechanics, and function of the ear and vocal mechanism
  • Phonetics
  • Semantics
  • Speech and Voice Science
  • Psychology of Speech
  • Experimental Phonetics

3. Speech Pathology and/or Correction Courses (12 Semester Hours)

  • Stuttering
  • Articulation
  • Voice Disorders
  • Cleft Palate
  • Aphasia
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Psychogenic Speech Disorders
  • Pathological Speech Disorders

4. Audiology (3 Semester Hours)

  • Testing of Hearing
  • Introduction of Audiology
  • Auditory Training
  • Speech Reading
  • Speech for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing

5. Psychology ( 6 Semester Hours)

  • Human Growth and Development
  • Psychology of Adjustment or Abnormal Psychology

6. Basic Course in Public Speaking (3 Semester Hours)

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General Guidelines

1. No speech-language pathology assistant may begin working in direct contact with clients/patients without the board's written approval of the supervisory agreement and on the job training plan.

2. Only a speech-language pathologist with an active license in good standing may supervise speech-language assistants.

3. A speech-language pathologist may supervise no more than two full-time or three part-time speech-language pathology assistants. Full-time is defined as 40 work hours per week.

4. If, for any reason, there is a change in supervising speech-language pathologist, it is the responsibility of the supervising speech-language pathologist to notify the board in writing within seven working days that the supervisory agreement has been discontinued.

5. The assistant's license shall become void when the authorized supervisor is no longer available for supervision. The license will be reactivated upon receipt and approval by the board of a new supervisory agreement and the change in supervising speech-language pathologist fee specified in Section 40-67-70.

6. At the time of license renewal, supervising speech-language pathologists are to list the names of all those speech-language pathology assistants they are supervising.

7. A speech-language pathology assistant may work part-time for more than one supervising speech-language pathologist provided that the board has approved supervisory agreements for each supervising speech-language pathologist.

8. A license speech-language pathologist who supervises any speech-language pathology assistant must provide each speech-language pathology assistant with on the job training and must maintain responsibility for all services performed or omitted by such speech-language pathology assistant(s).

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On-the-Job Training

At a minimum, on-the-job training (OJT) must include step-by-step instruction of each and every service or task the speech-language pathology assistant is to perform and continuous visual observation by the supervising speech-language pathologist of the speech-language pathology assistant's performance of each service or task until the supervising speech-language pathologist establishes the speech-language pathology assistant's competence. The supervising speech-language pathologist must maintain a written record of each service or task indicating the activity, date, time, and location of the training demonstration and observations. This record must be signed by both the supervising speech-language pathologist and the speech-language pathology assistant and a copy must be provided to the speech-language pathology assistant. The supervising speech-language pathologist and the speech-language pathology assistant must maintain such records for a period of four years and such records must be made available to the director or his designee upon request.

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Supervision - General

Supervising speech-language pathologists are responsible for all the clinical services provided or omitted by the speech-language pathology assistant(s).

When speech-language pathology assistants provide direct services, the supervising speech-language pathologist is responsible for informing, in writing, all the clients (or their legal guardians), referring agencies, and third-party payers. Further, it is the supervisor's responsibility to ensure that the assistant is clearly identified at all times as an assistant by means of a name tag or similar identification.

At no time may a speech-language pathology assistant perform tasks when the supervising speech-language pathologist cannot be reached by personal contact, phone, pager, or other immediate means. The supervisor must make provisions, in writing, for emergency situations including designation of another licensed speech-language pathologist who has agreed to be available on an as needed basis to provide supervision and consultation to the assistant when the supervisor is not available. If for any reason (i.e., maternity leave, illness, change of job) a supervisor is not able to provide the level of supervision stipulated, the assistant may not perform client contact tasks.

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Direct Supervision

Following initial OJT, direct supervision of each speech-language pathology assistant must consist of a minimum of 15% (6 hours per 40 hour work week) or one of every seven visits per patient of direct, visual supervision of client contact to include a sampling of each assigned service or task. This direct supervision must be documented in writing. This documentation must be maintained by the supervising speech-language pathologist for a period of four years and must be made available to the director or his designee upon request.

Indirect Supervision

In addition to direct supervision, indirect supervision is required a minimum of 5% (2 hours per 40 hour work week) and must include review of written records and may include demonstrations, review and evaluation of audio- or video- taped sessions, and/or supervisory conferences.

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Quarterly Reviews

In addition to direct and indirect supervision, the supervising speech-language pathologist must conduct quarterly performance reviews of each speech-language pathology assistant's performance of each assigned service or task. Such quarterly reviews must document, on a form approved by the board, direct observation of each task or service assigned to the speech-language pathology assistant. These reviews must be signed by both the supervising speech-language pathologist and the speech-language pathology assistant and must be maintained by the supervising speech-language pathologist for a period of four years and must be made available to the director or his designee.

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Scope of Practice

The supervising speech-language pathologist accepts full and complete responsibility for all services and tasks performed or omitted by the speech-language pathology assistant. Provided that education, training, supervision and documentation are consistent with that defined in this chapter, the following tasks may be designated to the speech-language pathology assistant:

1. Conduct speech-language or hearing screenings (without interpretation) following specified screening protocols developed by the supervising speech-language pathologist.

2. Provide direct treatment assistance to patients/clients identified by the supervising speech-language pathologist.

3. Follow documented treatment plans or protocols developed by the supervising speech-language pathologist.

4. Document patient/client progress toward meeting established objectives as stated in the treatment plan.

5. Assist the supervising speech-language pathologist during assessment of patients/clients.

6. Assist with tallying patient/client responses, prepare therapy materials, schedule activities, prepare charts and assist with other clerical tasks as directed by the supervising speech-language pathologist.

7. Perform checks and maintenance of equipment.

8. Assist the supervising speech-language pathologist in research projects, in-service training and public relations programs.

9. Sign treatment notes which must be reviewed and co-signed by the supervising speech-language pathologist.

10. Discuss with the client, his guardian or family members specifically observed behaviors that have occurred during treatment when such behaviors are supported by documented objective data.

11. Upon assignment of the supervising speech-language pathologist, present information designated in writing by the supervising speech-language pathologist regarding patients/clients at staffings or conferences.

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Prohibited Activities

The speech-language pathology assistant may not:

1. Perform diagnostic tests of any kind, formal or informal evaluations, or interpret test results.

2. Participate in parent conferences, case conferences, or any interdisciplinary team meetings where diagnostic information is interpreted or treatment plans developed without the presence of the supervising speech-language pathologist or designated licensed speech-language pathologist.

3. Provide patient/client or family counseling.

4. Write, develop, or modify a patient/client's treatment plan in any way.

5. Assist with patients/clients without following a documented treatment plan which has been prepared by a licensed speech-language pathologist and for which the speech-language pathology assistant has not received appropriately documented OJT.

6. Sign any formal documents (e.g., treatment plans, reimbursement forms or reports) without the signature of the supervising speech-language pathologist.

7. Select patients/clients for services.

8. Discharge patients/clients from services.

9. Disclose clinical or confidential information either orally or in writing to any one not designated in writing by the supervising speech-language pathologist.

10. Make referrals for additional services.

11. Provide any interpretation or elaboration of information that is contained in reports written by any licensed speech-language pathologist.

12. Represent himself to be a speech-language pathologist.

13. Make advertisement or public announcement of services independent of the supervising speech-language pathologist.

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