Good communication means a better community on the Bellarine
From August 21 until August 27, Bellarine Community Health is celebrating Speech Pathology Week. This is a week where speech pathologists around Australia highlight the work we do within our communities and share information about our wider profession.
During Speech Pathology Week, the speech pathology team at Bellarine Community Health are highlighting this year’s theme: Good Communication, Better Communities.
BCH is celebrating Speech Pathology Week by creating awareness about the different ways people in our Bellarine Community communicate. We will also be sharing a little more about our amazing speech pathologists. The speech pathology team at Drysdale have been updating signage to support the diverse communication needs of the community by including more picture-based communications around the site.
What is a speech pathologist?
Speech pathologists are allied health professionals who support people with communication and swallowing difficulties. Speech pathologists work with individuals across the lifespan, assessing and providing support in the domains of expressive and receptive language, speech, voice, swallowing, and fluency (stuttering). They work with people who have difficulty communicating or swallowing due to developmental delays, stroke, brain injury, learning disability, intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, dementia, hearing loss, as well as other issues that affect speech and language.
What is a communication disability?
There are 1.2 million Australians with a communication disability. Communication disability affects a person’s ability to understand and be understood by others, and is often considered a ‘hidden’ disability, unseen and out-of-sight.
Communication disabilities are experienced by both children and adults and can impact a person’s ability to participate fully in the social, educational, economic and sporting aspects of our community. Many Australians with a communication disability cannot maximise educational, health and social outcomes, without the intervention of a speech pathologist.
Who should see a speech pathologist?
You or your child might benefit from a speech pathologist if experiencing difficulty communicating or swallowing. Indicators of this include:
- Problems understanding what others are saying
- Struggling to articulate words, phrases, or sentences
- Problems pronouncing specific sounds
- Differences with social skills and interacting with others
- Difficulty swallowing food or drink
Speech pathology at Bellarine Community Health
At Bellarine Community Health, we support children and youth to communicate in a wide range of ways, including clients who have language delay or disorder, unclear speech, social communication differences, stuttering, and exploring/using alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) systems to express themselves (e.g. communication books, devices, Key Word Signing, etc.).
We offer several group programs including Little Talkers (for children who present with delayed communication milestones), Prep Readiness, Lego Group, and the Circle of Security Parenting program. Our staff have completed several professional development courses including Hanen, Sounds-Write, Lidcombe Program for Early Stuttering, PROMPT, and THRASS.
Tips for successful communication with other community members:
- Always treat the person with the communication disability with dignity and respect
- Be welcoming and friendly
- Understand there are many ways to communicate
- Ask the person with the disability what will help with communication
- Avoid loud locations, find a quiet place
- Listen carefully
- If you think the person has not understood, repeat what you have said or say it a different way
- Try asking the person yes or no questions if you are having difficulty understanding them
- If you ask a question, wait for the person to reply
- Allow the person time to respond, so always be patient
If you would like more information on speech pathology services available at Bellarine Community Health, please give a member of the team a call on 1800 007 224 or click here to learn more about how BCH can help.