Interdisciplinary Approaches to Brain Damage

Position Statement

Ad Hoc Committee on Interprofessional Relationships With Neuropsychology of ASHA and Representatives of the Division of Clinical Neuropsychology (Division 40) of the American Psychological Association

About this Document

The following is the position of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and Division 40 of the American Psychological Association. This document represents the cumulative effort of the members of the Ad Hoc Committee on Interprofessional Relationships Neuropsychology (Leslie J. Gonzalez Rothi, chair; Brenda L. Adamovich; Craig W. Linebaugh, Richard K Peach; and Lynette R. Goldberg, ex officio; under the guidance of Ann L. Carey, vice president for professional and governmental affairs) and representatives of the Divsion of Clinical Neuropsychology (Division 40) of the American Psychological Association (Kenneth M. Adams, Linas Bieliauskas, Robert A. Bornstein, Gerald Goldstein, Byron P. Rourke). The position statement was adopted as an official statement of ASHA by the Legislative Council (LC 39–89) in November 1989, and by the Executive Committee of Division 40 of the American Psychological Association in February 1989.


Neuropsychology is the scientific study of the relationship between brain function and behavior. As such, neuropsychology, in the generic sense, is an interdisciplinary knowledge area embracing many contributing disciplines and professions. Therefore, it is inappropriate that the knowledge base of neuropsychology be regarded as proprietary by any given discipline or profession.

It is acknowledged that this knowledge base may be applied for the betterment of human welfare by different disciplines and professions with different training emphases. It is assumed that such practice will include techniques and procedures included in discipline-specific training and exclude those for which competence has not been established through such training criteria. Individual practice may also be limited by laws or even ethical considerations in a given instance. It is also recognized that clinical practice with individuals who demonstrate impairment of the central nervous system is frequently an interdisciplinary effort which employs the particular strengths and expertise of various professions and disciplines. Cooperation and mutual respect between professions and disciplines which employ the knowledge base of neuropsychology is encouraged in patient treatment. This is the most appropriate way to ensure the welfare of the patient, which is always the first priority. Various techniques and applications of neuropsychology may not be mutually exclusive between professions. However, it is also recognized that different legal jurisdictions impose different limits on the scope of practice of the professions. These limits include educational requirements, training experience, and the designation and description of professional practice.

All relevant disciplines and professions should contribute to the expanding knowledge base of neuropsychology and to its appropriate applications in patient care. Given the interdisciplinary history of the development of neuropsychology, mutual respect and cooperation between disciplines and professions is an ongoing necessity.

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Index terms: brain injury, interdisciplinary teams, cognitive-communication, neuropsychology

Reference this material as: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (1990). Interdisciplinary approaches to brain damage [Position Statement]. Available from

© Copyright 1990 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association disclaims any liability to any party for the accuracy, completeness, or availability of these documents, or for any damages arising out of the use of the documents and any information they contain.


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