Emerging policy in South Africa has had a marked impact on delivery of service by speech–language pathologists, particularly in the field of aphasia. This article describes major policy influences in the areas of language use, health, education, disability, and the elderly, which have had an impact on service delivery. Aphasia assessment and intervention, in particular, are profoundly influenced by the unique sociopolitical context and opportunities are created for developing innovative perspectives, which expand traditional frameworks and scope of practice. Relevant practice requires awareness both of enabling policy and of the impact of issues such as poverty and culture on assessment and intervention. The profession of speech–language pathology has a powerful potential role in advocacy and social reform and to help develop policy, interrogate traditional models of training, and derive research that is relevant and contributes to a global debate.
Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, School of Human and Community Development, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Corresponding Author: Claire Penn, PhD, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, School of Human and Community Development, University of the Witwatersrand, Private Bag 3, Johannesburg 2050, South Africa (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Through this article, I pay tribute to the life and work of Dr Neville Alexander (1936–2012), political activist and intellectual, whose tireless efforts during the shaping of our new democracy lead to a language policy for our country that was progressive, noble, and visionary. I am so proud to have worked with him during this process as part of the LANGTAG team and to have benefited considerably from his insight, energy, and leadership.
Harriet Etheredge is gratefully acknowledged for editorial assistance.
The author has indicated that she has no financial and no nonfinancial relationships to disclose.