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8 tips on communicating with someone with a communication disability

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 1.2 million Australians have a communication disability.

It is Speech Pathology week this week – August 22nd to 29th 2021. This years theme ‘Communication is everyone’s right’ aims to help spread awareness about the work Speech Pathologists do to to ensure everyone can communicate with confidence. Communication disability is largely invisible, unseen and out-of-sight. Communication is more than just speech and confident communication can help to maximise educational, health and social outcomes for people living with communication disability. A persons limitation can range from mild to severe and it can be temporary or it can last a lifetime. Children and older people make up the majority of people living with communication disability, which can affect a person’s ability to understand and be understood by others. To support Speech Pathology Week 2021 we’ve compiled 8 tips on successful and respectful communication.

8 Tips for successful communication

  • Always treat the person with the communication disability with dignity and respect
  • Ask the person with the disability what will help with communication
  • When you don’t understand, let them know you are having difficulty understanding
  • If you think the person has not understood, repeat what you have said or say it in a different way
  • Try asking the person yes or no questions if you are having difficulty understanding them
  • To make sure you are understood, check with the person that you have understood them correctly
  • If you ask a question, wait for the person to reply
  • Speak normally. There is no need for you to raise your voice or slow your speech.

Adapted from SCOPE, Communication for All

Our Speech Pathologists work with both young children and older adults to improve their communication skills. Together we can make a difference for the one in 7 Australians living with a communication disability. You can find more information on our services here.