SPSC113-24S2 (C) Semester Two 2024

Introduction to Communication Disorders

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 15 July 2024
End Date: Sunday, 10 November 2024
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 28 July 2024
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 29 September 2024


An introduction to the study of typical speech, language and swallowing as well as communication and swallowing disorders in children and adults.

Learning Outcomes

University Graduate Attributes

This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

Employable, innovative and enterprising

Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

Biculturally competent and confident

Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.

Engaged with the community

Students will have observed and understood a culture within a community by reflecting on their own performance and experiences within that community.

Globally aware

Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


CMDS111 and CMDS112

Equivalent Courses


Timetable 2024

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 14:00 - 16:00 Rehua 103 Project Workshop
15 Jul - 25 Aug
9 Sep - 20 Oct
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 13:00 - 14:00 E6 Lecture Theatre
15 Jul - 25 Aug
9 Sep - 20 Oct

Course Coordinators

Kenny Ardouin and Kristin Gozdzikowska



An introduction to the many communication and swallowing disorders that people might face during their lifetimes. You will learn about the difficulties that children might have with their communication, feeding and/or swallowing and that adults might encounter as a result of an acquired condition such as a stroke or a brain injury.

Communication and swallowing disorders affect more people than you might think. Most people know of someone who has had difficulty communicating or swallowing either as a child or an adult. For example, some preschool children have difficulty with speech fluency and might develop a stutter, or they might have difficulty producing speech sounds in words or putting words together to form sentences. School-aged children might have difficulty producing complex sentences and this can make it hard for them to get their message across to other people.

Some adults acquire conditions that cause communication and/or swallowing disorders. For example, some people experience a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a result of a motor vehicle accident. The TBI might affect the areas of the brain that are responsible for communication and/or swallowing and this can have a significant impact on their everyday functioning. Others might suffer a stroke that, like a TBI, can impact the parts of the brain that deal with communication and/or swallowing. Others have difficulties that result from degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In these cases, a speech-language therapist (SLT) might be tasked with assessing and sometimes treating the communication or swallowing disorder. You’ll learn about the SLT profession as well as the people and disorders SLTs work with.

Module Topics

The semester is roughly broken up into disorders affecting children in Term 3 and those affecting adults in Term 4.

Term 3:

1. Introduction: human communication and typical speech and language development in children
2. Speech Sound Disorders in children
3. Hearing
4. Language disorders in children
5. Autism
6. Alternative and augmentative communication (AAC)
7. Cleft lip and palate
8. Literacy (reading) development and disorders
9. Fluency (stuttering)
10. The Bachelor of Speech and Language Pathology (Hons) Programme at UC (learn about the programme)

Term 4:

11. Voice disorders
12. Head & neck cancer
13. Neurology & speech-language therapy
14. Aphasia (acquired language disorder)
15. Cognitive communication disorders
16. Motor speech disorders
17. Dysphagia (swallowing disorders)
18. Speech-language therapy as a career


Three tests: one in Week 4 (30%), one in Week 8 (35%), and one in Week 12 (35%).


Owens, Jr., R. E., & Farinella, K. A. (2019). Introduction to communication disorders: A lifespan evidence-based perspective (6th ed.). Pearson.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,051.00

International fee $5,438.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

Minimum enrolments

This course will not be offered if fewer than 10 people apply to enrol.

For further information see School of Psychology, Speech and Hearing .

All SPSC113 Occurrences

  • SPSC113-24S2 (C) Semester Two 2024