Communication impairment in Australia is more common than you may think. Difficulties are found in both adults and children and range from the mild to the severe.
Communication involves using the voice, speaking, hearing, listening, understanding, social skills, reading and writing. Speech pathologists help people with a wide range of communication impairments.
While people can have problems in one or more areas and not another, people with communication impairment are likely to experience some difficulties in their interactions with others.
As with most health issues, the sooner people with communication difficulties seek help the better the outcome.
Different aspects of communication where Speech Pathology can be useful
Voice is using the vocal cords correctly to produce the sound so we can talk.
Speech is the sounds we use in language. Sounds such as /th/ and /r/ are later developing sounds and you would not expect a two or three year old to say them correctly.
Language is how we put words together to make sentences and express our ideas as well as to understand others when they speak to us. Twenty percent of four year olds have difficulty understanding or using language. Thirty percent of people after a stroke suffer a loss of language.
Literacy involves reading and understanding what is read and then writing it down so others can read and understand our written information. Children with a language impairment are six times more likely to have a literacy problem than children without. Forty six percent of young offenders have a language impairment.
Social Communication is how we learn to talk to others, to make friends and to understand both non-verbal and verbal information and the social rules which govern their use e.g. how do you interrupt politely two people talking, how do you request directions from a stranger etc. Many children diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder have difficulty in this area.
A common fluency problem is stuttering. This difficulty may first be noticed in childhood but may persist into adulthood.
For more information on communication difficulties go to the Speech Pathology Australia website where fact sheets and information on where to find a speech pathologist is documented.
Many thanks to Speech Pathologist, Jill Cross for sharing this information.