“Communication is a basic human right,’ says Sarah. “It is fundamental to a person’s ability to participate fully in our community’s social, educational, economic and sporting aspects in their community.
“Many Australians with communication disabilities cannot maximise educational, health and social outcomes, without the intervention of a speech pathologist’
Only 38 per cent of Australians with communication disabilities are participating in the workforce, compared to 80 per cent of people without communication disabilities.
People with communication disabilities are also less likely to have a non-school qualification (42 per cent), than those without communication disabilities (61 per cent).
“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 ways, including sign language, electronic speech devices, or word-based or picture-based communication boards or books.
“Technology is playing a growing and vital role in keeping Australians with communication difficulties engaged with their family, friends and those in the wider community.
Research shows using Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) does not stop people from using speech. In fact, it can help with speech development.
Examples of AAC technology include:
- Single message or multi-message devices – these are electronic devices that are battery operated and have simpler functions. They have a voice recording function and can play between 1-32 single message recordings.
- Speech generating devices – these devices use specialised communication software. The user can choose from programmed words and phrases or spell a message out. These devices can also give a person access to the world of social media.
- Telecommunications – technology can make phone calls and sending emails accessible for a person who can’t use standard equipment because they can’t physically access it- they don’t have functional speech, or they can’t read.
- Hearing and vision impairment specialised technology – this technology can assist a person with independence and communication, such as flashing or vibrating alerts and tactile prompts around the home.
- Environmental controls – this technology can help a person independently control the world around them, such as adjust the air conditioner, control the TV, open the door or turn on the lights.
“Greater public dialogue about communication disabilities broadens awareness and helps create more informed and empathetic communities.”
If you or a loved one needs assistance with improving your communication abilities, you can contact our speech pathology team at firstname.lastname@example.org or give them a call on 1300 764 433. You can also find more information here.