New lines of communication

EVERY day more than 1.1 million Australians have difficulty communicating, according to Latrobe Community Health Service speech pathologist Jessica Chambers.

Ms Chambers, who is helping to raise awareness during Speech Pathology Week, which ends on Saturday, said the theme for the week was a ‘Nation for Communication’.

“Sadly many people with a communication disorder suffer in silence. It’s estimated that one in five people will experience communication difficulties at some point in their lives,” Ms Chambers said.

“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.”

About 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.

Ms Chambers said speech disorders do not just affect the young and these were the challenges that confronted speech pathologists every day.

“Over 1.1 million Australians have a communication or swallowing disorder that impacts on the quality of their life,” she said.

“That is roughly the same number of Australians who live with diabetes and three times the number of Australians with dementia.”

Ms Chambers said speech pathologists worked with people to maximise their ability to communicate in a way that best met their needs and abilities.

For more information about Speech Pathology Week visit

www.speechpathologyaustralia.org.au or LCHS on 1800 242 696.