The term "essential functions" refers to those (a) physical, (b) behavioral and social and (c) cognitive and intellectual abilities that are necessary for satisfactory mastery of our academic and practicum curricula. These functions reflect the expectations and abilities considered necessary for students and professionals delivering services in the fields of audiology and speech-language pathology.

The essential functions listed on this page are not prerequisites for admission as a student to The Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences. The Department is committed to enabling students by reasonable means or accommodations to complete their course of study. Students who anticipate the need for accommodations to fulfill essential functions due to a disability are encouraged to contact The Southern Miss Office for Disability Accommodations at 601-266-5024.

Physical abilities

  • participate in classroom, laboratory, clinical/educational and other professional responsibilities and activities for up to four-hour blocks of time with one short break;
  • move independently to, from and within the work setting;
  • provide for one's own personal hygiene;
  • manipulate laboratory, evaluation and intervention equipment and materials, including completion of all academic and pupil/client-related forms and paperwork (e.g., lesson plans, data collection forms, notes, reports);
  • provide a safe environment for others by responding quickly to emergency situations (e.g., fire, choking) and by applying universal precautions (i.e., standardized approach to infection control);
  • visually monitor pupil/client responses and materials;
  • make accurate auditory judgments about speech and acoustic signals.

Behavioral and social attributes

  • maintain emotional and mental health necessary to use one's intellectual abilities, to promptly complete responsibilities and to develop appropriate relationships with faculty, supervisors, staff, peers, clients, parents or caregivers and other professionals;
  • maintain composure and emotional stability in demanding situations;
  • adapt to changing environments and situations;
  • communicate effectively in person, by phone and in written form while considering the communication needs and cultural values of the listener or reader;
  • understand and respect faculty and supervisory authority;
  • maintain appropriate professional behavior including punctuality, regular attendance, maintaining client confidentiality and completing all duties and assignments pursuant to one's academic plan;
  • demonstrate compassion, integrity, interest and motivation in delivering professional services;
  • collaborate effectively with other professionals;
  • comply with administrative, ethical, legal and regulatory policies.

Intellectual and cognitive abilities

  • demonstrate the capacity to learn and to assimilate professional information, including the ability to comprehend oral and written professional literature and reports;
  • solve academic and clinical/educational problems through critical analysis;
  • seek relevant case information;
  • synthesize and apply concepts and information from various sources and disciplines;
  • speak and write using professional language;
  • analyze, synthesize and interpret ideas and concepts in academic and clinical/educational settings, and express these in an accurate manner in verbal and written form;
  • maintain attention and concentration necessary to complete clinical/educational activities for up to four-hour blocks of time with one short break;
  • organize, schedule and prioritize activities, and provide documentation in a timely manner.

This list of essential functions is adapted with permission from The Department of Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences, Purdue University.