August 22, 2022

Good communication, better communities

This week is Speech Pathology Week – an opportunity to promote the speech pathology profession, and the work being done by speech pathologists.

According to Speech Pathology Australia, 1.2 million Australians have a communication disability that affects their ability to understand, and be understood by others. Levels of limitation range from mild to profound, and be can temporary or last a lifetime. Children and older people make up the majority of those with a communication disability.

The theme for this year’s Speech Pathology Week is ‘Good Communication, Better Communities. Northern Health’s Speech Pathology department know that good communication for all, results in better communities.

“Communication is a basic human right. It is fundamental to a person’s ability to participate fully in the social, educational, economic, and sporting aspects of our community,” says Jasmine Wong, Speech Pathologist at Broadmeadows Hospital.

“Many Australians with a communication disability cannot maximise educational, health, and social outcomes without the intervention of a speech pathologist.”

Communication, by definition, involves at least two people, which is why it is important that everyone understands that communication is more than just speech. Technology also plays a growing and vital role in keeping Australians with communication difficulties engaged with their family, friends, and those in the community.

“People with communication difficulties communicate with others using a variety of ways, including sign language, electronic speech devices, or word-based pictures or picture-based communication boards or books,” explains Jasmine.

“Greater public dialogue about communication disabilities broadens awareness, and helps create more informed and empathetic communities.”

In recognition of Speech Pathology Week, staff are encouraged to participate in a Silent Cafe activity across all Northern Health sites.

The Silent Cafe initiative is designed to promote the use of methods other than speech to communicate. This involves using a communication board – one of the many alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) systems speech pathologists use to help clients express themselves.

Communication boards will be placed at the counters of each Northern Health cafe until 27 August.  At Northern Hospital Epping, boards will be available from 3.30 pm. Bundoora Centre will have boards between 10.30 am to 11.30 am, and 1.30 pm to 2.30 pm, and Broadmeadows Hospital at any time of the day. Staff at each cafe will be prepared to take your hot drink order using the communication boards. Portable versions will be available at Craigieburn Centre to use at the local 7-Eleven or McDonalds. An email was communicated to staff last week, with more details.

For more information about Speech Pathology Week, please click here.

Featured image: Northern Health Speech Pathology Department.