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2014, Year Of the International Communication Project

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Stuart Ayres MP, Member for Penrith recently joined local speech pathologist, Ms Belinda Hill, to raise awareness as to how speech pathologists are aiming to make Australia a ‘Nation for Communication’ by increasing the understanding of communication disorders and how they impact on people’s lives.

Belinda said every day more than 1.1 million Australians have difficulty communicating and that during 2014, the year of the International Communication Project, bringing this to the attention of the Penrith community is essential.

“It is estimated that one in five people will experience communication difficulties at some point in their lives.  This can range from mild to very severe and can impact on the way they participate in family life, the community, education and the workplace.”

“Speech pathologists are specialists in all forms of communication.  We work with people to maximise their ability to communicate in a way that best meet their needs and abilities,” said Belinda

Around 13,000 Australians use electronic communication aids to get their message across, while 20 per cent of four year olds have difficulty understanding or using language.

Communication impairments can continue beyond early childhood. 46% of youth offenders have a language difficulty.

But speech disorders don’t just affect the young. At least 30 per cent of people post-stroke suffer loss of language, with 85 per cent of those with Parkinson’s disease having voice, speech and/or swallowing difficulties. Individuals in nursing homes are further impacted by the lack of access to services to assist them with communication. We strongly believe that communication is a human right.

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.

Stuart Ayres said that raising awareness of communication difficulties and providing details  of the treatments which are available is a great example of how speech pathologists are working together to ensure better outcomes for patients across the state.

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Stuart Ayres - Member for Penrith

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