What is communication access? Where everyone in Greater Hamilton gets the message!

CLiaison's picture August 26, 2017


WDHS Speech Pathologist, Claire Nailon working with 4 year old Izac Cornell-Murtagh

Local speech pathologist Claire Nailon 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,” Claire explains.

“Communication access is vital to allow everyone to participate fully in the social, educational, economic and sporting aspects of community life in Greater Hamilton”.

That’s why during Speech Pathology Week, from 20-26 August, the Western District Health Service Speech Pathology team 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,” Claire said.

“Communication accessibility can be as easy as rephrasing your question in simple language, using pictures, writing, gestures or symbols to help get your message across.

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.

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 local communities need to be accessible for everyone, including people with communication difficulties, physical disabilities, reading difficulties, vision impairment, hearing impairment and intellectual disability,” added Claire. 

“Building communication accessibility will ensure that everyone is treated with dignity and respect. When we create communication accessible communities, everyone gets the message.”

For more information about Speech Pathology services, contact Western District Health Service Allied Health on (03) 5551 8349.