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This week we celebrate Speech Pathology Week and the work of our Speech Pathology Team in supporting children and adults across our community who depend on speech pathology to help them communicate with confidence.
More than 1.2 million Australians live with communication disability, driving Connect Health & Community speech pathologists’ work to provide local residents the confidence to communicate.
Connect Health & Community CEO, Amanda Murphy, said Speech Pathology Week 25 – 31 August encourages us to think about the struggles many people in our community face when it comes to being heard and understood.
“In Australia today, communication disability is largely invisible. Unseen and out-of-sight,” Ms Murphy said.
“But 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 enabling everyone to participate fully in the social, educational, economic and sporting aspects of community life,” she said.
Ms Murphy said only 38 per cent of Australians with communication disability participate in the workforce, compared with 80 per cent of people without communication disability.
“Communication is a basic human right and the theme of Speech Pathology Week, ‘Communicating with Confidence’ highlights the importance of work to help those with speech difficulties to stand confidently in the world,” Ms Murphy said.
Connect Health & Community communications volunteer, Leesa - who was born with cerebral palsy, said speech therapy from the age of two was the difference between being able to talk or not.
“When I was a child, my mum was told that I would never talk and to just give me a board. But my parents were determined to give me the best chance and took me to speech therapy every week. I am so grateful they gave me this opportunity, it’s why I am doing so well now,” Leesa said.
Speech pathologists study, diagnose and treat communication disability, including difficulties with speech, language, reading and writing, stuttering and voice.
Ms Murphy said Connect Health’s speech pathology team works with people from the local area who have communication disabilities that can arise at various stages of life.
“Whether they are present at birth, like cerebral palsy, down syndrome or hearing impairments; emerge during childhood, like stuttering; occur as a result of physical, intellectual or sensory disability or a mental illness; occur during adult years, through traumatic brain injury, stroke, head/neck cancers or develop in the elderly as a result of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, these communication disabilities can isolate a person’s ability to lead a life of confidence,” she said.
View Leesa's story on her journey with speech pathology below:
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