This week is Speech Pathology week, and we’re celebrating the wonderful work speech pathologists do in the community. This year’s theme is “Communication access. Everyone gets the message”.
At Everyday Independence we value our Speech Pathologists and the work they do with people who have communication or swallowing disorders that impact on their daily life.
Talking to Julia, one of our Speech Pathologists, she said she sees first-hand how much of a barrier communication difficulties can be in accessing the community. Julia said it is really important for our community to be accessible for everyone, including people with communication difficulties, physical difficulties and intellectual disabilities. “We need to have a greater awareness and understanding of communication disabilities within our community, and for all of us to learn how to interact with people with communication disabilities”, she said.
Speech Pathology Australia estimates that over 1.1 million Australians, around 5% of our population, have a communication disorder.
Just recently, Julia worked intensively with a man in his 40’s who struggled everyday to communicate with people in his local community. Going into the bank, walking along the main street and buying his groceries would be a stressful experience for him as he struggled to communicate what his needs and requirements were. He would feel quite anxious and hide from interaction with other members of the community. He avoided getting his items at the supermarket or getting his jobs done at the bank because he didn’t have the confidence to speak to anyone.
Over a four month period, Julia worked with him to slowly increase his speech, increasing his words and sentences which enabled him to respond to the bank staff when they welcomed him into the building. He now says hello to the bus driver and happily walks into the supermarket responding to staff when he purchases his weekly shopping.
This is just one of many stories we see everyday that demonstrate how important communication is in our everyday life.
Communication is a basic human right and Speech Pathology Week seeks to promote this fact.
During Speech Pathology Week 2017 join the conversations about communication accessibility and help make sure “everyone gets the message” by participating on social media by using #SPWeek.