News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

Project to Give Half a Million Kiwis Voice

Project to Give Half a Million Kiwis Voice


Up to half a million Kiwis are faced with significantly reduced quality of life because they aren’t given the support to simply communicate, the New Zealand Speech-language Therapists Association says.

The association estimates that one in ten New Zealanders have a communication disorder or communication difficulties.

Despite the high numbers, the NZSTA says this group of Kiwis is largely ignored.

“Communication should be a fundamental human right,” president Helen McLauchlan says.

“But it is never on the agenda. From policy makers to the general public, you would think these disorders didn’t exist. To sufferers these disorders, it feels like no one understands.

“These people are invisible and the results are devastating.”

The lack of awareness and support for people with communication disorders is the focus of the International Communications Project (ICP) being launched at Te Papa this Wednesday (April 9).

The ICP is a global initiative spearheaded internationally by Dr Dean Sutherland, a senior lecturer in speech and language therapy at the University of Canterbury.

The group aims to take the issue to the World Health Organisation in the hope it will recognise the importance of communications disorders when considering health and disability matters.

Communications disorders include anything that affects a person’s ability to communicate. They range from children who have language or speech difficulties to elderly people who have suffered strokes or have dementia.

Ms McLauchlan says her clients face challenges every day because of public ignorance and a lack of awareness.

“There are many examples of people being refused service because people think they’re drunk, despite having information explaining they have a speech problem.

“Children become frustrated and act out in classrooms. You would be surprised at the number of kids who are labelled as naughty and disruptive when actually they have an undiagnosed or untreated communication disorder.

“10 per cent of Kiwi kids have communication disorders, but just the most severe 1 per cent receive any intervention. This has a lifelong impact on the quality of life of these children. Early intervention is the key and it’s just not happening.”

As part of the International Communication Project, a number of events will be taking place throughout New Zealand through the year.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Gordon Campbell: On The America’s Cup

The fact New Zealand now reigns supreme once again in the most sophisticated contest in the world’s most elite sport – yacht racing – can’t help but reflect the trajectory the country has been on since the 1980s... More>>

ALSO:

Howard Davis: Christopher Marlowe & 'The Tragedy Of Dr. Faustus'

Previous versions of 'The Devil's Pact' can be traced back to the fourth century, Marlowe deviated significantly by depicting his protagonist as unable to burn his books or repent to a merciful God in order to have his contract annulled... More>>

ALSO:

Gold For RNZ: Muslim Post-9/11 Series, Kim Hill Win In New York

The Radio New Zealand podcast series Public Enemy has won a gold award for excellence for its presenter, Mohamed Hassan, at the prestigious New York Festival Radio Awards announced in Manhattan today. RNZ National’s Saturday Morning host, Kim Hill, also received a gold award for Best Radio Personality. More>>

Human Rights Commission: Give Nothing To Racism

A campaign urging New Zealanders to give nothing to racism and refuse to spread intolerance has been launched by some of the country’s most well-known people. More>>

Louis Vuitton Series Win: Emirates Team NZ Will Challenge For The America’s Cup

By beating Artemis 5-2 they now take on Oracle Team USA in the America’s Cup match starting next weekend. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland