It's Speech Pathology Week – so what you might say? Well, did you know that more than one million Australians have communication and/or swallowing difficulties?

This year's theme is 'Talk with me'. La Trobe Senior Lecturer and Director of Speech Pathology Australia Dr Chyrisse Heine says 6,500 members are using their voice to raise awareness of the importance of and need for more speech services across all socio-economic and cultural demographics.

'The benefits of interventions, advice and services provided by the profession, are many – indeed timely specialist intervention from a speech pathologist can mean the difference between being able to communicate and be heard or not,' Dr Heine said. 

So who are Speech Pathologists?

Speech Pathologists are professionals who work with people of all ages who have a communication and/or swallowing difficulty. It maybe a person who has suffered a stroke, is on the autism spectrum, has hearing loss or an acquired brain injury.

And here are some sobering statistics to consider in Speech Pathology Week

  • 20% of four year old children have difficulty understanding or using language
  • 14% of 15 year olds have only basic literacy skills
  • 28% of teachers take time off work each year because of voice problems
  • At least 30% of people post-stroke suffer loss of language (aphasia)
  • 85% of those with Parkinson's disease have voice, speech and/ or swallowing difficulties
  • 13,000 Australians use electronic communication aids to get their message across
  • Children with a language impairment are six times more likely to have a reading problem than children without
  • 46% of young Australian offenders have a language impairment
  • There is a high correlation between communication difficulties and poor mental health
  • Three in every 1,000 newborns have hearing loss, which without intervention can affect their speech, language and literacy. Indigenous children have three times more hearing problems than non-Indigenous children

To find out more about the work Speech Pathologists do have a look at the social media campaign at #Talkwithme #SPweek #Speechpath

Media; Catherine Garrett 9479 6565 / 0418 964 325

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