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.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Scoop Review Of Books: Worldly And Unworldly

"Being Magdalene" by Fleur Beale The situations shown in this youth novel are shocking, scary, and very moving as we experience Magdalene’s struggle to be a perfect girl as defined by the cruel and unreasonable leader of “The Children of the Faith”, as she moves reluctantly into young womanhood. More>>

Whistle Stop: Netball NZ To Implement New INF Rules

Netball New Zealand (NNZ) will implement the new Official Rules of Netball, as set down by the International Netball Federation (INF), from January 1, 2016. Key changes include the elimination of whistle following a goal, amendments to injury time and changes to setting a penalty. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Waiata Aroha

Vaughan Rapatahana on Chappy by Patricia Grace: With this eminently readable novel Patricia Grace returns to the full-length fiction stage after a hiatus of ten years. More>>

'Ithaca' At Q Theatre: Introducing NZ's World Class Cirque Troupe

NZ’s very own cirque troupe is set to become a household name with the premier of its adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey having secured a key season in Auckland. More>>

Music Awards: The Tuis Are Broody This Year

Topping off a sensationally eventful year both at home and internationally, Nelson born brother-sister duo Broods has taken home four Tuis from this year’s 50th annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. More>>


Sport: Richie McCaw Retires From Rugby

Richie McCaw has today confirmed he is hanging up his boots and retiring from professional rugby. The 34-year-old All Blacks captain and most capped All Black of all time has drawn the curtain on his stunning international career which started in Dublin 14 years ago, almost to the day, and ended in London last month when he hoisted the Webb Ellis Cup aloft for the second time. More>>


John McBeth: On Jonah Lomu

For many New Zealanders, the enormity of Jonah Lomu's reputation will have come as a surprise... His deeds were watched and enthused over by movie stars and musicians, politicians and superstars from other codes. He reached into the lives and homes of millions and mixed with famous people most New Zealanders would only have read about. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news