A Speech Pathologist is a health professional with expertise in the assessment and management of communication, feeding and swallowing difficulties and disorders. Common perceptions of the works of a Speech Pathologist include correcting speech difficulties in children and working with people who stutter – and while Speech Pathologists do work in these areas, we do so much more too!
A broad range of clients receive speech pathology services, ranging from babies and children who are experiencing difficulties with feeding, or in their development of communication skills; or people who acquire communication difficulties as a result of disease, injury, degenerative conditions or a stroke. A speech pathologist may work in a number of different settings including hospitals, community health centres, medical clinics, aged care facilities, schools and kindergartens.
Communication and feeding/swallowing are two skills which are fundamental to life – Speech Pathologists strive to support people in these skills, in order to engage across all aspects of daily living.
It is estimated that around 1.2 million people currently living in Australia have a communication disability. Ensuring communication accessibility for these Australians means they are treated with dignity and respect. And this is where the theme for Speech Pathology Week in 2018 comes in – Communication access is communication for all.
This theme promotes the notion that we can create a community where everyone can get their message across by making communication accessible to everyone. Communication, by definition, is a two-way process. When communicating with people with communication difficulties, we can make communication accessible by modifying the messages we send (verbally, written or by other means), as well as supporting people with communication difficulties to send clear messages.
People with communication difficulties often suffer in silence – imagine for a moment if you had to communicate and get your message across without being able to speak? How would your daily life be impacted if you could no longer hear? Communication access aims to encourage a world where barriers are removed to enable and empower people who have communication difficulties to communicate successfully within their communities.
The role of a Speech Pathologist is vital in making communication accessible, as all aspects of speech and language therapy aim to assist our clients to have the opportunity and means to meaningfully engage in their communities. Furthermore, we play a crucial role in advocating for communication access within our wider communities to enable successful communication for all.
So, during Speech Pathology Week 2018, we invite you to join the conversation about communication accessibility, because when we create communication accessible communities, everyone gets the message.
For information about Speech Pathology Week – 19-25th August 2018, visit www.speechpathologyaustralia.org.au/week.
For any questions relating to Speech Pathology services, for communication or swallowing difficulties in children or adults, contact our clinic’s visiting Speech Pathologist, Meredith Potts at MGP Speech Pathology.