24 Aug Speech Pathology Week
What is communication access? Where everyone in Timboon gets the message!
Timboon and District Healthcare Service speech pathologist Narelle Baehnisch fully backs a Speech Pathology Australia call for greater action to ensure communication accessibility for the 1.1 million Australians estimated to have a communication disability.
“Like mobility or wheelchair access, communication access is enabling people with communication disorders to get their message across by removing barriers to effective communication or providing extra support and strategies,” Narelle explains.
“Communication access is vital to enable everyone to participate fully in the social, educational, economic and sporting aspects of community life in Timboon, as well as the wider Corangamite Shire.”
That’s why during Speech Pathology Week, from 20-26 August, Timboon and District Health Service speech pathologist Narelle Baehnisch, is highlighting the week’s theme: Communication Access – Everyone gets the message.
“Communication is a basic human right and Australia needs to do more to achieve communication access for those with a communication disability,” Narelle said.
“Communication accessibility can be as easy as rephrasing your question in simple language, using pictures, writing, gestures or symbols to help get across your message.
“For businesses, it might mean including plain English signage with symbols and pictures as well as words; or training staff so they are able communicate successfully with a person with a communication difficulty.”
People with a communication disability communicate using a variety of means, including electronic speech devices, word-based or picture-based communication boards or books, sign and gesture, spelling, and through verbal means.
Speech Pathology Australia estimates 1.1 million Australians have a communication disability – and that, over the course of their life, one in seven Australians will experience a communication difficulty.
For example, every 10 minutes, an Australian suffers a stroke – that’s more than 60,000 strokes each year. At least 30 per cent of people post-stroke suffer loss of language or experience communication difficulties.
Information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) indicates that some 235,000 people with a disability use electronic or non-electronic communication aids for reading, writing and speaking (this does not include hearing aids).
“Our communities need to be accessible for everyone, including people with communication difficulties, physical disabilities, reading difficulties, vision impairment, hearing impairment and intellectual disability,” added Narelle.
“Building communication accessibility will ensure that everyone is treated with dignity and respect. When we create communication accessible communities, everyone gets the message.”
For information about Speech Pathology Week visit www.speechpathologyaustralia.org.au/week, or speak with Narelle, speech pathologist at Timboon and District Healthcare Service on 5558 6000.