Effective professional communication is a critical factor in the therapeutic relationship. Effective communication can:

  • Improve client experience when accessing professional services,
  • Reduce complaints, and
  • Improve the efficiency of service provision.

According to the SLP and Audiology Competency Profiles (see Module 3), the following minimum abilities with respect to communication are expected of ACSLPA regulated members:

Communicate respectfully and effectively using appropriate modalities:

  • Use language appropriate to the client and context, taking into account age, culture, linguistic abilities, education level, cognitive abilities, and emotional state.
  • Employ environmental and communication strategies to minimize barriers to successful communication, including the use of appropriate modes of communication (e.g., oral, non-verbal, written, electronic).
  • Mitigate language barriers by using translators/interpreters, as required.
  • Recognize and respond to the client’s verbal and non-verbal communication.
  • Use strategies to facilitate a mutual understanding of shared information.
  • Participate respectfully in challenging conversations.

Establish and maintain effective collaborations to optimize client outcomes:

  • Collaborate with the client during all stages of care.
  • Interact effectively with all team members.
  • Communicate one’s professional roles, responsibilities, and scope of practice in collaborative interactions with the client, caregivers, and relevant professionals.
  • Manage misunderstandings, limitations, and conflicts to enhance collaborative practice.

Communication practices of regulated members are regulated in ACSLPA’s Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. It is the responsibility of each regulated member to be aware of the minimum requirements with respect to communication as described in the Standards and the Code and to take any steps necessary to practice within them.

Ineffective professional communication is a common source of complaints to the College. Regulated members should take note of the following which are examples of aspects of service delivery where communication is essential for maintaining the integrity of the therapeutic relationship.