TITLE 5
Businesses and Professions

CHAPTER 5-48
Speech Pathology and Audiology

SECTION 5-48-1


§ 5-48-1 Purpose and legislative intent – Definitions.

(a) It is declared to be a policy of this state that the practice of speech language pathology and audiology is a privilege granted to qualified persons and that, in order to safeguard the public health, safety, and welfare, protect the public from being misled by incompetent, unscrupulous, and unauthorized persons, and protect the public from unprofessional conduct by qualified speech language pathologists and audiologists, it is necessary to provide regulatory authority over persons offering speech language pathology and audiology services to the public.

(b) The following words and terms when used in this chapter have the following meaning unless otherwise indicated within the context:

(1) "Audiologist" means an individual licensed by the board to practice audiology.

(2) "Audiology" means the application of principles, methods, and procedures related to hearing and the disorders of the hearing and balance systems, to related language and speech disorders, and to aberrant behavior related to hearing loss. A hearing disorder in an individual is defined as altered sensitivity, acuity, function, processing, and/or damage to the integrity of the physiological auditory/vestibular systems.

(3) "Board" means the state board of examiners for speech language pathology and audiology.

(4) "Clinical fellow" means the person who is practicing speech language pathology under the supervision of a licensed speech language pathologist while completing the postgraduate professional experience as required by this chapter.

(5) "Department" means the Rhode Island department of health.

(6) "Director" means the director of the Rhode Island department of health.

(7) "Person" means an individual, partnership, organization, or corporation, except that only individuals can be licensed under this chapter.

(8)(i) "Practice of audiology" means rendering or offering to render any service in audiology, including prevention, screening, and identification, evaluation, habilitation, rehabilitation; participating in environmental and occupational hearing conservation programs, and habilitation and rehabilitation programs including hearing aid and assistive listening device evaluation, prescription, preparation, dispensing, and/or selling and orientation; auditory training and speech reading; conducting and interpreting tests of vestibular function and nystagmus; conducting and interpreting electrophysiological measures of the auditory pathway; cerumen management; evaluating sound environment and equipment; calibrating instruments used in testing and supplementing auditory function; and planning, directing, conducting or supervising programs that render or offer to render any service in audiology.

(ii) The practice of audiology may include speech and/or language screening to a pass or fail determination, for the purpose of initial identification of individuals with other disorders of communication.

(iii) A practice is deemed to be the "practice of audiology" if services are offered under any title incorporating such word as "audiology", "audiologist", "audiometry", "audiometrist", "audiological", "audiometrics", "hearing therapy", "hearing therapist", "hearing clinic", "hearing clinician", "hearing conservation", "hearing conservationist", "hearing center", "hearing aid audiologist", or any similar title or description of services.

(9)(i) "Practice of speech language pathology" means rendering or offering to render any service in speech language pathology including prevention, identification, evaluation, consultation, habilitation, rehabilitation; determining the need for augmentative communication systems, dispensing and selling these systems, and providing training in the use of these systems; and planning, directing, conducting, or supervising programs that render or offer to render any service in speech language pathology.

(ii) The practice of speech language pathology may include nondiagnostic pure tone air conduction screening, screening tympanometry, and acoustic reflex screening, limited to a pass or fail determination, for the purpose of performing a speech and language evaluation or for the initial identification of individuals with other disorders of communication.

(iii) The practice of speech language pathology also may include aural rehabilitation, which is defined as services and procedures for facilitating adequate receptive and expressive communication in individuals with hearing impairment.

(iv) A practice is deemed to be the "practice of speech language pathology" if services are offered under any title incorporating such words as "speech pathology", "speech pathologist", "speech therapy", "speech therapist", "speech correction", "speech correctionist", "speech clinic", "speech clinician", "language pathology", "language pathologist", "voice therapy", "voice therapist", "voice pathology", "voice pathologist", "logopedics", "logopedist", "communicology", "communicologist", "aphasiology", "aphasiologist", "phoniatrist", or any similar title or description of services.

(10) "Regionally accredited" means the official guarantee that a college or university or other educational institution is in conformity with the standards of education prescribed by a regional accrediting commission recognized by the United States Secretary of Education.

(11) "Speech language pathologist" means an individual who is licensed by the board to practice speech language pathology.

(12) "Speech language pathology" means the application of principles, methods, and procedures for prevention, identification, evaluation, consultation, habilitation, rehabilitation, instruction, and research related to the development and disorders of human communication. Disorders are defined to include any and all conditions, whether of organic or non-organic origin, that impede the normal process of human communication in individuals or groups of individuals who have or are suspected of having these conditions, including, but not limited to, disorders and related disorders of:

(i) Speech: articulation, fluency, voice, (including respiration, phonation and resonance);

(ii) Language (involving the parameters of phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics; and including disorders of receptive and expressive communication in oral, written, graphic, and manual modalities);

(iii) Oral, pharyngeal, laryngeal, cervical esophageal, and related functions (e.g., dysphasia, including disorders of swallowing and oral function for feeding; oro-facial myofunctional disorders);

(iv) Cognitive aspects of communication (including communication disability and other functional disabilities associated with cognitive impairment); and

(v) Social aspects of communication (including challenging behavior, ineffective social skills, lack of communication opportunities).

History of Section.
(P.L. 1973, ch. 143, § 1; P.L. 1991, ch. 329, § 1; P.L. 1998, ch. 366, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 354, § 14; P.L. 2007, ch. 33, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 39, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 73, art. 39, § 17; P.L. 2012, ch. 241, art. 9, § 19; P.L. 2015, ch. 141, art. 20, § 9.)