More than one million Australians have communication difficulties that affects a person’s ability to understand and be understood by others.
Speech Pathology Week is an opportunity to highlight the importance of communication access and how speech pathologists work with people in our communities every day to help them communicate with confidence.
Mackay HHS speech pathologists assess and treat patients across hospitals and community health facilities addressing fields of speech, language, stuttering, voice and multi-modal communication.
Speech pathologist Brittany Vella said communication disorders can significantly impact many aspects of a person’s life.
“People who have communication disorders can experience difficulties communicating their immediate needs along with performing their usual work duties or socialising in the community,” she said.
“As a result, communication difficulties can also affect the patient’s emotional and mental health as well as their overall quality of life.
“Those closest to patients cannot always understand or support their loved one to communicate in the way they would like, which is upsetting for them as well.”
Communication disorders can result from a range of conditions.
“It can often result in trouble reading or understanding spoken information to difficulty producing sounds/words or intelligible speech,” Brittany said.
“Strategies to support people with communication difficulties also varies depending on the patient’s diagnoses and severity.
“We work with patients and their families to provide tailored communication strategies and therapy to support the person to be able to express their needs, wants and thoughts.”
While speech disorders are a specialty for speech pathologists, it is important to recognise that communication is more than just speech.
“Everyone has the right to communicate. The best way for a person to communicate is individual and the most effective method for a person may be verbal, however, it may also be via various other methods such as writing, word or picture-based communication boards.”
Speech Pathology Week is being marked by the health service’s 15 speech pathologists this week (22-28 August) raising awareness on the challenges faced by Australians with a communication difficulties and recognising communication as a basic human right.