PSYCH 313 : Psychology of Communication Disorders


2020 Semester One (1203) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Studies the links between psychological processes and communication disorders. Hearing and speech and language development will be covered. A range of communication disorders will be introduced. Psychosocial aspects of communication disorders including impact on self-esteem, health-related quality of life, peer/interpersonal relationships and educational and behavioural consequences of communication disorders in children will also be discussed.

Course Overview

This course studies the links between psychological processes and communication disorders. The nature of hearing, speech and language will be discussed, along with aspects of their normal development. A range of communication disorders will be introduced. There will be a focus on the psychosocial aspects of communication disorders including the impact on self-esteem, health-related quality of life, peer/interpersonal relationships, and the educational and behavioural consequences of communication disorders in children. This course is recommended for all psychology students interested in typical and disordered communication, and is particularly relevant to students who are applying to the Master of Speech Language Therapy Practice programme. 

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: 45 points at Stage II in Psychology and 15 points from STATS 100-125

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Explain the complexity of human communication at a beginning level. (Capability 1)
  2. Identify the breadth of disorders which have an impact on communication skills. (Capability 1)
  3. Recognise the impact of communication disorders, in both children and adults, and apply this understanding to a case example. (Capability 2 and 3)
  4. Acquire practical skills in the transcription and analysis of speech and language, and the measurement of hearing and auditory processes. (Capability 1)
  5. Recognise significance of communication to human social, emotional and cognitive well-being. (Capability 6)
  6. Explain how communication disorders have an impact in the context of the whole person, and those around them. (Capability 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Test 30% Individual Test
Assignments 30% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 40% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6
Final Exam


In the School of Psychology the Tuākana Programme aims to do this by increasing both social and academic support between students, and between staff and students. The programme mainly involves more senior psychology students working together with less senior students (all stages) to provide this support throughout the semester.
Benefits of being involved in the Tuākana Programme include:
• Increased support and encouragement.
• Increased communication and access to resources.
• Increased networks – getting to know more students, at your own level and above.
• Increased enjoyment and opportunity to succeed.
Tuākana Study Space: Study space is available for Māori and Pacific students in Building 301- Room 198. Please feel welcome and encouraged to use this room, it has some great facilities and is a really good way to meet other students.

Key Topics

The complexity of language
Speech disorders in children
Language disorders in children
Fluency disorders
Psychosocial aspects of communication disorders in children 
Selective Mutism 
Autism spectrum disorders
Bilingualism and communication disorders in children and adults
Aphasia and other acquired language disorders 
Traumatic brain injury
Hearing and balance disorders
Hearing loss in adults and children
Well being  and cognition in children with hearing loss
Psychosocial aspects of hearing loss in adults

Learning Resources

Owens, R., Metz, D., & Farinella, K. (2015) Introduction to Communication Disorders: A Lifespan Evidence-Based Perspective (5th Ed) Pearson. ISBN-10: 1292058897.
Fromkin V, Rodman R, Hyams N, Amberber M, Cox, F. & Thornton, R. (2015) An introduction to language (8th Australian NZ ed.) Melbourne, Vic.: Cengage learning. ISBN-10: 0170261190. Note there is an ‘international edition’ of this book up to the 9th edition. However this is the Australian and NZ edition, and is preferable for our purposes.
Paltridge B (2012) Discourse Analysis (2nd Edition) London; Continuum. ISBN 082648557.
These texts are recommended for you to consult, and will particularly help concerning terminology and the areas covered in the course. It is not intended that you learn the content of them, in detail; your best guide to detail is the lectures and tutorials. Other readings and references will be provided within individual topics.

Special Requirements

The material covered in tutorials is examinable, both in the coursework and in the final examination. Students must obtain a passing mark across all their coursework in order to be eligible for plussage. This means that they do not need to pass each piece of coursework, so long as their overall coursework mark is greater than 50%. Students need also to ensure that their attendance at tutorials is marked off or they will not qualify for plussage. Those arriving later than 10 minutes into the tutorial will not be considered to have attended.  

Workload Expectations

For this course, you can expect 3 hours of lectures, a 1 hour tutorial, 3 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 3 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Following University workload guidelines, a standard 15 point course represents approximately 150 hours of study.During the semester there will be twelve weeks of  lectures (3 hours) and eight weeks of tutorials (1 hour). This totals to 44 hours of instruction across the semester. Since the course as a whole represents approximately 150 hours of study, that leaves a total of 106 hours across the entire semester for independent study, e.g. reading, reflection, preparing for assessments/exams, etc.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page:

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Feedback from previous PSYCH 313 cohorts indicate that students find the range of topics in this course stimulating and interesting.  Changes that have been made include the fine tuning of coursework assessment and the turnaround times for returning assessments to students. 

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 11/01/2020 03:17 p.m.