It’s time to ‘start the conversation’

It’s time to ‘start the conversation’

With Speech Pathology Week 2013 launching on Sunday, a local speech pathologist is encouraging Hunter businesses to 'Start the Conversation'.

Valerie Gent of Let's Eat! Paediatric Speech Pathology said that every day more than one million Australians have difficulty communicating, which means that there are a significant number of people who may be struggling in the workplace or even finding it challenging to find a job.

“By starting the conversation about communication in your workplace during Speech Pathology Week, we want to encourage people to think about what life is like for the large number of Australians living with a communication problem, as well as how life would change if they were to have a communication difficulty themselves,” Valerie said.

Valerie is advocating for Hunter businesses to get behind their employees, as well as those that have family members with permanent and significant disabilities.

“It's 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 Pathology support can be accessed in a wide range of settings – schools, hospitals, nursing homes, universities, kindergartens, rehabilitation centres, community health centres, private practice and mental health services.

Some speech pathologists also specialise in areas of 'complex need', such as autism, cerebral palsy and intellectual disability and may work in specialist intervention services for these people with disabilities.

They work with people who have difficulty communicating because of developmental delays, stroke, brain injuries, learning disability, intellectual disability, cerebral palsy and hearing loss, as well as other problems that can affect speech, language and communication.

Valerie started her private practice Let's Eat! Paediatric Speech Pathology at the beginning of 2013, after she found a gap in the private sector for specialist Speech Pathology management of children with feeding difficulties.

“If your child has a feeding difficulty, you are referred to public health services which often results in long waiting lists and therapy appointments that can be months apart,” Valerie said.

“This can make it difficult for families to attend appointments and achieve goals particularly if their child gets sick frequently and appointments are cancelled.”

“Since starting my practice, I have seen such a positive impact with regular sessions for families (in their home or clinic) which has naturally led to significant improvements for their child.”

Speech Pathology Week 2013 (25-31 August) celebrates the speech pathology profession and the important role speech pathologists play in helping people acquire and maintain communication and swallowing/feeding skills. 

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