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Is it time to see a certified speechie? Communication and swallowing difficulties affect quality of

Is it time to see a certified speechie?

Communication and swallowing difficulties affect quality of life for 4.4 million Australians


The ability to be understood and to understand others is a life skill that is compromised for more than 4.4 million Australians who have communication and swallowing disability, but many don’t know who can help them. A new online tool can help people decide if a certified speech pathologist – ‘A certified speechie can help.

Certified speech pathologists provide much more than their title suggests offering support in language, literacy, eating and drinking, dramatically improving a person’s physical and mental well-being.

Paul Jamieson says he was existing, not living before he began speech therapy following a wake boarding accident 6 years ago. “I was pretty much a vegetable I couldn’t walk, talk or eat; I was being peg fed through a tube.


The former scientist has regained his independence appreciating the simple pleasure of drinking coffee and he has a lot to say about his progress which he credits his certified speechie. “I have found my voice, I can express my needs and opinions and wants, it’s a big deal, it’s huge,” Paul said.

One in 7 Australians have a communication disability, the majority are primary school children, needing help to learn communication skills, and people over 60 that through illness or injury require therapy to relearn basic skills

Speech Pathology Week is 20 – 26 August and encourages those experiencing communication or swallowing difficulty to use the new online resources to help them decide if a ‘certified speechie’ can assist.

Speech Pathology Australia President, Kathryn McKinley believes the new resource will also give people a greater understanding of how a certified speech pathologist can help to improve quality of life for people with communication difficulty.


“At any stage or age there can be new barriers that affect our ability to communicate and that can be very isolating and affect our ability to participate in life. If you or someone you care for is having difficulties, you are not alone, and help is available.”


“The only way to be assured that you are receiving care from someone with appropriate and up to date training is to make sure that they are a certified speechie,” said Kathryn.

A certified speech pathologist is approved for NDIS funding, private health insurers and Medicare.


Visit the Communicating for Life online resources.

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