Happy Speech Pathology Week 2014 – Nation for Communication – 24 to 30 August.

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Every day more than 1.1 million Australians have difficulty communicating.

Speech Pathology Week runs from 24-30 August. The theme for the week is a ‘Nation for Communication’.

Nation for Communication

Speech pathologists are aiming to make Australia a ‘Nation for Communication’ by increasing the understanding of communication disorders and how they impact on people’s lives.

Sadly many people with a communication disorder suffer in silence….. Most of us take communication for granted.
It’s estimated that one in five people will experience communication difficulties at some point in their lives. This can range from mild to very severe and can impact on the way they participate in family life, the community, education and the workplace.

Around 13,000 Australians use electronic communication aids to get their message across, while 20 per cent of four-year-olds have difficulty understanding or using language.

But speech disorders don’t just affect the young. At least 30 per cent of people post-stroke suffer loss of language, with 85 per cent of those with Parkinson’s disease having voice, speech and/or swallowing difficulties.

Three in every 1,000 newborns have hearing loss, which without intervention can affect their speech, language and literacy. Indigenous children have three times more hearing problems than non-Indigenous children.

Over 1.1 million Australians have a communication or swallowing disorder that impacts on the quality of their life. That is roughly the same number of Australians who live with diabetes! And three times the number of Australians who suffer from dementia.

Speech pathologists are specialists in all forms of communication. We work with people to maximise their ability to communicate in a way that best meets their needs and abilities.

We work with people who have difficulty communicating because of developmental delays, stroke, brain injuries, learning disability, autism, intellectual disability, cerebral palsy and hearing loss, as well as other problems that can affect speech, language and communication – like Motor Neurone Disease, which we keep hearing about as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, because of the Ice Bucket Challenge!

Speech pathologists work in a wide range of settings – schools, hospitals, nursing homes, universities, kindergartens, rehabilitation centres, community health centres, private practice and mental health services.

I’m sure you know someone with a communication difficulty like those described above – Would you care to share your story in the comments? Or write your own post and link it up in the linky!

get the InLinkz code

Or take the time to read and sign the International Pledge to recognise that the ability to communicate is a basic human right.

For more information about Speech Pathology Week visit www.speechpathologyaustralia.org.au



  1. Fiona

    I’ll kick us off!

    When my Grandfather had his first stroke, he still had his thoughts about him, but couldn’t coordinate speech – severe “dysarthria” – slurred speech.

    Me, being a speech student whipped up an alphabet board for him, and got him pointing to communicate…..

    There is still a lack of alterntive communication support in emergency departments. Amazing how much a pictorial pain scale like this one: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/triageqrg~triageqrg-pain~triageqrg-wong

    Or and alphabet board: http://www.spectronics.com.au/activities/alphabet-board-abc can help!!!

  2. Four out of five of my girls have had speech therapy at one point or another. Miss 7a flatly refused to talk full stop and because she’d had some ear problems and a couple of sets of grommets, her ENT specialist referred her to a speech therapist. She had ongoing therapy for a few months, then one day when she was 3.5 she just woke up one day and started talking. She’s always done things on her own terms that girl!
    Miss 7b is hearing impaired, she wears a bone conductor hearing aid and uses an FM system at school. She had speech therapy from about 18 months old until she started school at 5.
    Miss 6 never had any speech problems as such, but has difficulty concentrating at school. She was diagnosed with ADHD about a year ago and one of the recommendation the developmental psychologist made was that speech therapy might help her language development and reading so she’s been working with a speech therapist since then.
    Miss 2 seems to have inherited her big sisters’ dodgy eustachean tubes and failed her hearing screening due to glue ear so after having grommets put in at 13 months, she started working with Miss 6’s speech therapist. At Christmas, an assessment showed she was about 6 months behind with her language development, but after 7 months of SLT, in July another assessment was done which shows her language is now perfectly on track with her peers.

  3. Fiona

    Thank you so much for sharing!!!!

    Wow, you’ve had a LOT of contact with speechies! It’s so good though that you’ve had the benefit of early identification… and timely intervention.

  4. I’ve worked with lots of great Speechies and I have learnt heaps from them over the years! I will be sharing this with my readers during the week!

  5. Fiona

    Thanks Cindy!
    I’ve also worked with some AWESOME Occupational Therapists!! :) xx

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