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Experts to talk about communication disorders

Experts gather to talk about communication disorders

The occupational hazards for people whose voice is their major tool of trade, the use of communication disorders as a roadmap to disease diagnosis and technological advances in hearing aids are some of the issues on the agenda for an international conference at the University of Canterbury.

The two-day Canterbury Conference on Communication Disorders, which opened today, has attracted several hundred delegates from six countries.

Keynote speakers include Professor Ivan Barofsky, who spent 10 years at the Swallowing Centre at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, USA.

As resident psychologist he worked with psychogenic dysphagia patients and counselled them as they dealt with major changes in their capacity to swallow.

His presentation to the conference tomorrow will discuss health-related quality of life issues facing people with dysphagia.

Professor Barofsky will also discuss difficulties assessing the health-related quality of life of what he refers to as compromised patients, such as stroke victims, who have limited communication abilities.

UC’s Department of Communication Disorders, which is hosting the conference, is the longest running speech-language therapy programme in New Zealand.

It is responsible for educating the vast majority of communication disorder professionals in New Zealand and has recently introduced a training programme for audiologists.

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