A lack of community understanding has been found as a main barrier in tackling issues that people with communication disability face.
A recent investigation conducted by disability support service Scope Australia revealed that many Australians have trouble communicating with those with speech difficulties.
Scope’s Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Fitzgerald says uneducation in the society leads to other problems according to their results.
“Communication is such a common challenge for people with disability, so it’s unfortunate that a lack of education has left Australians feeling too anxious to have a respectful conversation,” she says.
“Our research shows social isolation and emotional vulnerability are all too common for the 245,000 Australians living with a communication disability.”
Scope works to support people with physical, intellectual and multiple disabilities.
Their research included about 100 in-depth interviews with people with communication disability and a survey which reached 1000 adult respondents.
“Our research found that Australians are unaware of the range of communication tools that enable people with disability to express themselves,” Dr Fitzgerald says.
Highlighting the gap in understanding, four out of five Australians (79.3 percent) believe it’s best to direct their conversation to a support person.
Yet data suggested that this made the individual with disability feel frustrated (46 percent), worried (41 percent) and lonely (30 percent).
In 2011, Scope developed the Communication Access framework to help organisations and staff communicate successfully with people with speech difficulties.
Dr Fitzgerald says this learning tool is evidence of Scope’s ongoing mission of creating a more inclusive society for all.
“Scope is committed to finding pathways and solutions to enable and facilitate inclusion and access, and that’s why we are calling on businesses and individuals to get educated on the different ways you can communicate,” she says.
They urge organisations to undertake disability awareness education and gain communication accessibility accreditation.
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