There are 1.2 million Australians with communication disability. Speech pathologists work with these Australians to provide them with the confidence to communicate.
In Australia today, communication disability remains largely invisible. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has highlighted the challenges faced by Australians with communication disability. That’s why during Speech Pathology Week, from 23-29 August, Speech Pathology Australia, is highlighting the week’s theme: Communicating with Confidence. Communicating with confidence is vital to enable everyone to participate fully in the social, educational, economic and sporting aspects of community life. Communication, by definition, involves at least two people. It is important that everyone understands that communication is more than speech. Australians with communication difficulties communicate with others using a variety of means, including word-based or picture-based communication boards or books, sign and gesture, and spelling. Technology is playing a growing and vital role in keeping Australians with communication difficulties engaged with their family, friends and those in the community.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has established that 1.2 million Australians have communication disability. Communication disability affects a person’s ability to understand and be understood by others.
- Levels of limitation range from mild to profound and can be temporary or last a lifetime.
- Children and older people make up the majority of people with communication disability.
- Children are more likely to have profound/severe communication disability than older people.
- People with communication disability were less likely to have a non-school qualification (42%) than people without communication disability (61%).
- Thirty-eight percent of people with communication disability are participating in the labour force compared with 80% of people without communication disability.
- One in 7 people with communication disability need formal assistance with communication.
- Half of all people who need formal assistance with communication have an unmet need for this assistance.
- Three in 5 people who have an unmet need for formal assistance with communication were children.
For information about Speech Pathology Week visit www.speechpathologyaustralia.org.au/week