SPCHSCI 723 : Communication Disorders in Adults


2024 Semester Two (1245) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

This course examines theoretical, research and clinical issues in the field of acquired neurogenic communication disorders. It builds on existing knowledge and presents the process of assessment, differential diagnosis, intervention procedures and treatment specifically designed for these conditions. Skills are developed in analysing client-specific approaches, therapeutic programmes and incorporating measures of efficacy into therapy plans.

Course Overview

Through weekly lectures and tutorials at the Grafton Campus, this course in acquired neurogenic communication disorders explores a wide range of speech and language impairments in adults. 

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: SPCHSCI 713

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: People and Place
Capability 2: Sustainability
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 7: Collaboration
Capability 8: Ethics and Professionalism

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Identify and describe the neurological, physiological and diagnostic basis for the major motor speech disorders (Capability 3, 5, 6 and 8)
  2. Identify and analyse the extent to which aphasia disrupts language production and explain how to address the impact of this disruption on the life of an individual and their family/whānau (Capability 1, 2, 3, 6 and 8)
  3. Incorporate principles of evidence-based practice, the ICF framework and te Tiriti o Waitangi in assessment and intervention suggestions (Capability 1, 2, 3, 6, 7 and 8)
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the significance of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and respect for the historical, social, political, economic and cultural significance of tangata whenua (Capability 1, 2, 3, 6, 7 and 8)
  5. Critically evaluate current debates in the literature regarding the description, diagnosis and possible treatment of acquired communication disorders (Capability 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Aphasia assignment 35% Individual Coursework
MSD class test 15% Individual Coursework
Final exam 50% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5
Aphasia assignment
MSD class test
Final exam


Tuākana Science is a multi-faceted programme for Māori and Pacific students providing topic specific tutorials, one-on-one sessions, test and exam preparation and more. Explore your options at

This course is supported by the Tuākana in Science Programme, which began almost 30 years ago and facilitates the success and wellbeing of our Māori and Pacific students. The foundation of the Tuākana Programme is the tuākana-teina principle an integral relationship in which older or more expert tuākana (traditionally brother, sister or cousin) guides a younger or less expert teina (traditionally younger sibling or cousin). This is a reciprocal relationship which fosters safe learning and teaching environments. 
The Tuākana Programme values manaakitanga (kind and caring interactions), tautoko (support), mana (reciprocal respect), ako (learning and teaching), whanaungatanga (relationship, kinship, sense of family connection) and hononga (connection).  We encourage all Speech Science students to engage in the Tuākana Programme through shared tutorial support with your classmates. Read more here: https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/science/study-with-us/maori-and-pacific-at-the-faculty/tuakana-programme.html

Key Topics

  1. Aphasia (fluent and nonfluent)
  2. Cognitive-communication disorders
  3. Language processing
  4. Motor speech disorders (dysarthria and apraxia of speech)
  5. Right hemisphere language disorder
  6. Dementia

Special Requirements

Students are required to attend all lectures and tutorials for this course.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15-point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15-point course that they are enrolled in. For this course, you can expect 3 hours of lectures, a 2-hour tutorial, 2-3 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 2-3 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

  • The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.
  • Attendance is required at scheduled activities, including lectures and tutorials, to complete components of the course.
  • Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities, including tutorials, will not be available as recordings.
  • The course will include live online events, including group discussions/tutorials.
  • Attendance on campus is required for the class test and the exam.

Learning 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.

Recommended reading includes:

  • LaPointe, L.L. & Stierwalt, J.A.G. (Ed) (2018). Aphasia and Related Neurogenic Language Disorders (5th edition). New York: Thieme
  • Davis, G.A. (2013). Aphasia and Related Cognitive-Communicative Disorders. London: Allyn and Bacon
  • Freed, D.B. (2020). (3rd edition). Motor Speech Disorders: Diagnosis and Treatment. USA: Plural Publisher https://www.pluralpublishing.com/publications/motor-speech-disorders-diagnosis-and-treatment
  • Duffy, J.R. (2019). Motor Speech Disorders (4th ed.) https://www.elsevier.com/books/motor-speech-disorders/duffy/978-0-323-53054-5

Additional readings will be provided for each topic through Canvas.

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.

We regularly make improvements to the course based on student feedback.

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 for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


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.

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 http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

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 https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

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

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

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 https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.


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 students may be asked to submit 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. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 09/11/2023 09:01 a.m.