Aphasia

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) play a central role in the screening, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of persons with aphasia. The professional roles and activities in speech-language pathology include clinical/educational services (diagnosis, assessment, planning, and treatment); prevention and advocacy; and education, administration, and research. See ASHA’s Scope of Practice in Speech-Language Pathology (ASHA, 2016b).

Appropriate roles for SLPs include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Providing prevention information to individuals and groups known to be at risk for aphasia
  • Educating other professionals on the needs of persons with aphasia and the role of SLPs in diagnosing and managing aphasia
  • Screening individuals who present with language and communication difficulties and determining the need for further assessment and/or referral for other services
  • Conducting a culturally and linguistically relevant, comprehensive assessment of language and communication
  • Diagnosing the presence or absence of aphasia
  • Referring to other professionals to rule out other conditions and to facilitate access to comprehensive services
  • Developing person-centered treatment plans, providing treatment, documenting progress, and determining appropriate dismissal criteria in collaboration with the patient and treatment team
  • Counseling persons with aphasia and their families regarding communication-related issues and facilitating participation in family and community contexts
  • Serving as an integral member of a collaborative team that includes physicians, other professionals (e.g., nurses and case managers, neuropsychologists, occupational and physical therapists, audiologists), and the patient and their family—see ASHA’s resources on interprofessional education/interprofessional practice [IPE/IPP] and person- and family-centered care  
  • Consulting with other professionals to facilitate program development and to provide supervision, evaluation, and/or expert testimony, as appropriate
  • Remaining informed of research in the area of aphasia and helping advance the knowledge base related to the nature and treatment of aphasia
  • Advocating for individuals with aphasia and their families at the local, state, and national levels

As indicated in the Code of Ethics (ASHA, 2016a), individuals who hold the Certificate of Clinical Competence shall engage in only those aspects of the professions that are within the scope of their professional practice and competence, considering their certification status, education, training, and experience.

Content Disclaimer: The Practice Portal, ASHA policy documents, and guidelines contain information for use in all settings; however, members must consider all applicable local, state and federal requirements when applying the information in their specific work setting.