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Core Functions

To monitor and evaluate students’ progress, clinically and academically, the Graduate Program in Speech-Language Pathology follows the 2023 document “A Guide for Future Practitioners in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology: Core Functions” from the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CAPCSD). The full document follows.

Loyola University Maryland is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to otherwise qualified students with disabilities. If, after reviewing this document, a student becomes aware that they may need an accommodation to meet these core functions, it is the student’s responsibility to contact the office of Disability and Accessibility Services (DAS) to initiate the process of requesting the accommodation. A DAS advisor will work with a student through an interactive process to determine eligibility and appropriate accommodations. Determining reasonable and appropriate accommodations is an interactive process among the student, Disability and Accessibility Services, and the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences. Students are welcome to submit accommodation requests at any time during their studies at Loyola, but accommodations are not implemented  retroactively.  Accommodations are approved on an individualized, case-by-case basis based on a full assessment of what the student needs to have an equitable experience on campus without fundamentally alternating an essential course component or campus program.

A Guide for Future Practitioners in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology: Core Functions

This document is intended as a guide for educational programs in speech-language pathology or audiology and individuals seeking a career in these professions. It identifies the core functions that individuals of such programs typically are expected to employ in didactic and clinical experiences to acquire the knowledge and demonstrate the competencies that will lead to graduation and successful entry into professional practice. This document replaces the Essential Functions document created by the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CAPCSD) in 2008. The document was updated to differentiate core functions from individual program requirements and to be inclusive of differences in behavioral and learning preferences associated with race, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity, language, and sensory, physical, or neurological status.

Instructions for appropriately using this document:

This document may be used when:

  • informing individuals about the core functions associated with the professions of audiology and speech-language pathology
  • initiating discussions between students and programs regarding student success
  • empowering students to make informed choices regarding their pursuit of professions in audiology and speech-language pathology
  • facilitating strategies to achieve student success
  • assisting programs and students in identifying and advocating for appropriate resources and accommodations
  • advancing the professions of audiology and speech-language pathology through the lens of justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

This document must not be used:

  • to discriminate against individuals for any reason
  • as a measure of acceptance or denial into an educational program
  • as a tool to presumptively judge individuals’ potential for success
  • as a stand-alone student assessment or intervention plan
  • to dismiss students from a program

Use of this document is not required by CAPCSD or any accrediting or credentialing body, including the Council on Academic Accreditation or the Council for Clinical Certification of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. This document has been adopted by our graduate program in our continued commitment to training competent and conscientious speech language pathologists. As such, we are interested in the holistic development as a student, person, and professional. We believe this focus is consistent with graduate training at a Jesuit institution. 

For the sake of this document, the term “core functions” refers to behavioral or cognitive functions that an individual must be able to perform with or without accommodations necessary to ensure equitable access. The document intentionally does not address how stated core functions are demonstrated, recognizing that there are multiple ways an individual can successfully meet the demands of clinical education and practice. The determination of possible accommodations exemplified in this document varies from institution to institution based on numerous factors not covered in the scope of this document. The degree to which accommodations are determined is under the governance of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It is the responsibility of the institution and the individual to work together to identify possible services and accommodations.

Glossary of Document Terms

To ensure the integrity of the messaging in this document, a glossary of terms is included at the end of the document.


Statements in this section acknowledge that audiologists and speech-language pathologists must communicate in a way that is understood by their clients/patients and others. It is recognized that linguistic, paralinguistic, stylistic, and pragmatic variations are part of every culture, and accent, dialects, idiolects, and communication styles can differ from general American English expectations. Communication may occur in different modalities depending on the joint needs of involved parties and may be supported through various accommodations as deemed reasonable and appropriate to client/patient needs. Some examples of these accommodations include augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices, written displays, voice amplification, attendant-supported communication, oral translators, assistive listening devices, sign interpreters, and other non-verbal communication modes.

  • Employ oral, written, auditory, and non-verbal communication at a level sufficient to meet academic and clinical competenciesAdapt communication style to effectively interact with colleagues, clients, patients, caregivers, and stakeholders of diverse backgrounds in various modes such as in person, over the phone, and in electronic format.

Statements in this section acknowledge that clinical practice by audiologists and speech- language pathologists involves a variety of tasks that require manipulation of items and environments. It is recognized that this may be accomplished through a variety of means, including, but not limited to, independent motor movement, assistive technology, attendant support, or other accommodations/modifications as deemed reasonable to offer and appropriate to client/patient needs.

  • Engage in physical activities at a level required to accurately implement classroom and clinical responsibilities (e.g., manipulating testing and therapeutic equipment and technology, client/patient equipment, and practice management technology) while retaining the integrity of the process
  • Respond in a manner that ensures the safety of clients and others

Statements in this section acknowledge that audiologists and speech-language pathologists use auditory, visual, tactile, and olfactory information to guide clinical practice. It is recognized that such information may be accessed through a variety of means, including direct sensory perception and /or adaptive strategies. Some examples of these strategies include visual translation displays, text readers, assistive listening devices, and perceptual descriptions by clinical assistants.

  • Access sensory information to differentiate functional and disordered auditory, oral, written, and visual communication
  • Access sensory information to correctly differentiate anatomical structures and diagnostic imaging findings
  • Access sensory information to correctly differentiate and discriminate text, numbers, tables, and graphs associated with diagnostic instruments and tests

Statements in this section acknowledge that audiologists and speech-language pathologists must engage in critical thinking, reasoning, and comprehension and retention of information required in clinical practice. It is recognized that such skills may be fostered through a variety of means, including assistive technology and /or accommodations/modifications as deemed reasonable and appropriate to client/patient needs.

  • Retain, analyze, synthesize, evaluate, and apply auditory, written, and oral information at a level sufficient to meet curricular and clinical competencies
  • Employ informed critical thinking and ethical reasoning to formulate a differential diagnosis and create, implement, and adjust evaluation and treatment plans as appropriate for the client/patient's needs
  • Engage in ongoing self-reflection and evaluation of one's existing knowledge and skills
  • Critically examine and apply evidence-based judgment in keeping with best practices for client/patient care

Statements in this section acknowledge that audiologists and speech-language pathologists must interact with a diverse community of individuals in a manner that is safe, ethical, and supportive. It is recognized that personal interaction styles may vary by individuals and cultures and that good clinical practice honors such diversity while meeting this obligation.

  • Display compassion, respect, and concern for others during all academic and clinical interactions
  • Adhere to all aspects of relevant professional codes of ethics, privacy, and information management policies
  • Take personal responsibility for maintaining physical and mental health at a level that ensures safe, respectful, and successful participation in didactic and clinical activities
This document should be considered a living document and therefore reviewed by CAPCSD at regular intervals to ensure that current terminology, practice, and ideas are reflected. Cultural Responsiveness  

Statements in this section acknowledge that audiologists and speech-language pathologists have an obligation to practice in a manner responsive to individuals from different cultures, linguistic communities, social identities, beliefs, values, and worldviews. This includes people representing a variety of abilities, ages, cultures, dialects, disabilities, ethnicities, genders, gender identities or expressions, languages, national/regional origins, races, religions, sexes, sexual orientations, socioeconomic statuses, and lived experiences.

  • Engage in ongoing learning about cultures and belief systems different from one's own and the impacts of these on healthcare and educational disparities to foster effective provision of services.
  • Demonstrate the application of culturally responsive evidence-based decisions to guide clinical practice

Cultural responsivity involves “understanding and respecting the unique cultural and linguistic differences that clients bring to the clinical interaction” (ASHA, 2017) and includes “incorporating knowledge of and sensitivity to cultural and linguistic differences into clinical and educational practices”.

Evidence-based practice involves “integrating the best available research with clinical expertise in the context of patient characteristics, culture, and preferences” (Evidence- Based Practice in Psychology, n.d.).

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2017). Cultural competence in professional service delivery [Position statement]. Available from

Evidence-Based Practice in Psychology. (n.d.). Https:// Retrieved March 3, 2023, from

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