There are 1.2 million Australians with communication disability. Cairns Catholic Education Speech Pathologists Amanda Carlone, Kate Giulieri, Davita Oraya, Chanelle Chate, Steph Fox and Tenille Bellamy work with these Australians in Catholic Education to provide them with the confidence to communicate.
“In Australia today, communication disability is largely invisible. Unseen and out-of-sight,” Davita said.
“Australians with communication disability cannot maximise future educational, health and social outcomes, without the intervention of a speech pathologist.
“Communicating with confidence is vital to enable everyone to participate fully in the social, educational, economic and sporting aspects of community life in the Cairns region.”
Only 38 per cent of Australians with communication disability are participating in the workforce compared with 80 per cent of people without communication disability.
People with communication disability are also less likely to have a non-school qualification (42 per cent), than those without communication disability (61 per cent).
Communicating with Confidence
That’s why during Speech Pathology Week, from August 25-31, Cairns Catholic Education Speech Pathologists highlighted the week’s theme: Communicating with Confidence.
“Communication is a basic human right,” said Steph.
“Communication, by definition, involves at least two people. It is important that everyone understands that communication is more than speech,” added Kate.
“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,” explains Amanda.
Technology is playing a growing and vital role in keeping Australians with communication difficulties engaged with their family, friends and those in the Cairns community.
“Assistive technology, such as electronic communication and speech generating devices, voice amplification and computer access aids (including eye-gaze mouse control and head tracking devices) allow people with communication difficulties to communicate with those around them,” tells Tenille.
Speech Pathologist Support
Speech pathologists study, diagnose and treat communication disability, including difficulties with speech, language, reading and writing, stuttering and voice. They work with Australians who have communication disability that may:
• emerge during early childhood e.g. speech and language disorders, stuttering, difficulties learning to read and write; or
• arise from premature birth, or may be present from birth e.g. cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, fragile X syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, hearing impairments and cleft palate; or
• occur as a result of physical, intellectual or sensory disability or a mental illness; or
• occur during adult years e.g. traumatic brain injury, stroke, head/neck cancers, neurodegenerative disorders such as motor neurone disease; or
• develop in the elderly e.g. dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease.
For information about Speech Pathology Week, visit Speech Pathology Australia.