Speech, language and communication impairments – how the practice nurse can help

TitleSpeech, language and communication impairments – how the practice nurse can help
Publication TypeMagazine Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsEnderby, P, Wren, Y
MagazineNursing in Practice
Date Published08//2016
Keywordscommunication impairments

Key learning points:

– Find out whether the child or adult with a communication disorder has been referred for a speech and language therapy assessment

– Ask the individual with the communication disorder how you can help them to express their needs and wants in your discussion with them, ie openly acknowledge the difficulty

– Give the person time to get their message across and check that you have understood

Communication is often defined as the ability to impart or exchange information by speaking, writing, gesture or other medium. Such a definition overlooks the importance of communication in being able to express one's personality, engage with friends and family and its centrality to personal development. Communication is key to the development of homo sapiens and thus it is strange that speech and language disorders are often overlooked or not seen as pivotal to a person's quality of life.

There are many medical, surgical, psychological and environmental causes that underlie the various impairments of speech, language and communication. It is likely that such difficulties will have a profound effect on the child or adult by limiting ability to participate in a full life, causing anxiety and frustration to the individual, their friends and family, and limiting educational, recreational and work opportunities.