About The Book


Professor Ferguson’s book is the only currently available work to address the needs of experienced speech-language pathologists who are seeking to further their professional development through a deep approach to the integration of theory with practice.

Her book examines a series of key issues for the expert speech-language pathologist through the lens of critical discourse analysis, in order to offer the opportunity for critical reflection with a view to change. Looking first at practice, the book reconsiders a central and longstanding area for debate amongst expert practitioners, which could be summed as the “difference versus disorder” debate. She approaches this issue through considering the social context in which speech-language pathology exists and the social roles and functions which speech-language pathologists serve. Thereafter, she critically examines student learning and curriculum development, taking the view that a primary role for the expert practitioner is that of educator of future speech-language pathologists, whether in a clinical educator role or within an academic setting. A critical perspective is argued to be essential for the educator if we are to avoid “cloning” ourselves and our practices. In every chapter, in order to provide concrete illustration and practical direction for the reader in considering the issues, the book works with a number of situations and texts from the author’s own research in the area of adult communication disorders of neurological origin and the work of colleagues in other areas of child speech and language disorders.

About The Author

Dr Alison Ferguson, is Associate Professor in Speech Pathology at The University of Newcastle, Australia. Dr. Ferguson commenced working as a qualified speech-language pathologist 25 years ago in hospital and community settings across the full range of clinical populations. In 1993, Dr. Ferguson took up the inaugural position in speech-language pathology at The University of Newcastle, and was responsible for leading the development and implementation of the first competency-based curriculum for professional qualification in speech pathology, receiving the University of Newcastle Award for Excellence in Teaching for 2000. In 2006, as one of a team of research colleagues, Dr Ferguson received the prestigious national Carrick Award for Australian University Teaching for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning for the development of a valid and reliable national competency assessment for speech pathology students. Dr. Ferguson’s research has centered on the application of sociolinguistic theory to the task of describing communication disability, with a particular focus on the conversational interaction of people with aphasia. Her research been internationally recognized through a wide range of conference presentations and publications in peer-reviewed journals and book chapters. Dr. Ferguson’s research explores three interconnecting areas: Speech-Language Pathology, analyzing interaction with people with communication disability in natural and naturalistic contexts; Therapy, looking at how clients interact in speech-language therapy contexts; and Learning, investigating how students learn about the practice of speech-language pathology.

Table Of Contents

  • Preface
  • A Critical Discourse Perspective on Speech-Language Pathology: Discourse as a reflection of culture
  • The Focus of Assessment: Layers of discourse, layers of thinking
  • The Process of Assessment: Discourse is dynamic
  • Service Provision: Discourse and power
  • Working Collaboratively: Discourse involves multiple parties
  • Speech-Language Pathology Genres: Discourse is systematic
  • Intra-professional Discourse: Discourse is learned
  • Curriculum Development: Discourse is institutionally based
  • Future Directions from a Critical Discourse Perspective: Discourse perpetuates and creates culture
  • Index


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