In 2019, Speech Pathology Week is 25-31 August.

Speech Pathology Week seeks to promote the speech pathology profession and the work done by speech pathologists.

There are more than 1.2 million Australians who have a communication disability which impacts their daily life.

Speech pathology week 2019

Speech pathologists work to ensure everyone can communicate with confidence.

  • 1) Children with autism, Down Syndrome, and Cerebral Palsy often begin their life with a communication impairment
  • 2) 20% of four year old children have difficulty understanding or using language
  • 3) 14% of 15 year olds have only basic literacy skills
  • 4) Children with a language impairment are six times more likely to have a reading problem than children without
  • 5) Three in every 1,000 newborns have hearing loss, which without intervention can affect their speech, language and literacy.
  • 6) 46% of young Australian offenders have a language impairment
  • 7) There is a high correlation between communication difficulties and poor mental health
  • 8) Indigenous children have three times more hearing problems than non-Indigenous children

Communication is a basic human right.

  • Communication disability is largely invisible. Unseen and out-of-sight
  • More confident communication helps maximise educational, health and social outcomes
  • Communication is more than just speech

What is communication?

Communication involves speaking, hearing, listening, understanding, social skills, reading, writing and using voice.


What is communication impairment?

People who have difficulty communicating may require assistance with:

Speech: involves saying the sounds in words so that people can understand what is being said. For example, a child who doesn’t say words clearly

Language: involves the exchange of ideas using words, usually in spoken or written form. For example, a child who has trouble understanding and following instructions

Literacy: involves reading, understanding what is read and communicating in written form. 1 in 5 children may struggle with literacy.

Social Communication: is how we communicate and involves interpreting the context of a conversation, understanding non-verbal information and the social rules of communication that are needed to develop a relationship with another person.

Voice: using the vocal cords or voice box to produce speech. For example, a person who frequently loses their voice or a person who has had surgery for throat cancer.

Fluency: commonly known as stuttering. This problem is usually first noticed when a child starts putting sentences together but can continue into adulthood.

If you have concerns about your child’s development

Speech and language difficulties can affect learning at school including literacy, numeracy and interacting socially with other children. Early Intervention is important so if you have any concerns about your child contact your GP or call your local Early Connections.

Download Speech Pathology Australia Factsheet Communication Impairments


Check out this useful resource about the difference between Speech Pathologists and Tutors from Banter Speech and Language