Speech Pathology Australia - Allied Health Assistant Feature


T he following information was developed to provide examples of tasks that an allied health assistant (AHA) can perform under the direction of a speech pathologist. The work of an allied health assistant is not limited to this set of examples. These activities can be undertaken following delegation by a qualified speech pathologist and with ongoing supervision. Speech pathologists delegating tasks to allied health assistants should be familiar with the key principles outlined in Speech Pathology Australia’s document Parameters of Practice (SPA, 2016 ). These examples are based on the table of competencies presented in Appendix B (p24-29) from this document and identifies activities which may be delegated to an allied health assistant (AHA), and the level of support required. Assessment Conduct specific screening tasks and record data (e.g., checklist) without interpreting the results Records observations of a client’s interactions with peers using a checklist. Monitor mealtimes (e.g. lunch) in home setting, using a mealtime observation checklist. Act as an ‘unfamiliar listener’ when assisting with intelligibility assessments. Record a language sample as directed by the speech pathologist.

Intervention Support development of specific skills

Work through a literacy program with a young person to support development of phonemic skills and reading. Support a young child with childhood apraxia of speech, whose parent/s have limited capacity to implement the programme at home, by doing ‘drills’ of speech sound production, practising production of sounds in core words and working through auditory bombardment activities. Support pre teaching of activities. For example, reads a chapter of a text/novel with the child that class teacher plans to work on as a whole class activity. Identifies new or unfamiliar vocabulary and discusses meaning of these words with child and uses them across range of activities, for example, explaining difference and similarities between two words; formulates sentences with words to demonstrate understanding of meaning of the word; defining words using key features. Practise semantic language tasks with an older person with aphasia as part of their individual therapy program designed by the speech pathologist. Provides additional sessions to increase the frequency of the intervention, to target specific speech and/or language structures using frameworks identified by the speech pathologist. Support a young person to improve their persistent difficulties with sequencing of activities following a traumatic brain injury from a recent car accident. Take photos of items in the home and daily activities which have been identified as priorities by that person. Create a low-tech communication aid using these photos according to the designated design of the speech pathologist. The AHA (and others) practises use of the aid, including help to prompt sequencing of daily tasks. Practise prescribed dysphagia exercises, e.g. chin tuck against resistance and prompted effortful swallow with a 46yr-old person who has had a stroke and has recently been discharged home. Assist a speech pathologist in preparing food/drinks/ equipment required for feeding therapy sessions as directed by the speech pathologist. Assists with transitioning the client, clearing up and setting up for the next session.


Speak Out | June 2021

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