Lay Publications

Defining communication disability in underserved communities in response to the World Report on Disability.

The World Report on Disability takes a broad view on disability, and includes a wide range of disabilities. Many believe this should include communication disability, and seek to promote a broader view of communication disability. It is important we include communication disability within the broad range of disabilities in the World Report on Disability.
This article comments on a review of the World Report on Disability and focuses on people in ‘under-served’ communities, people who may not have any, or very limited, speech therapy options available to them.  This may be due to factors such as; living in rural areas, having limited ability to travel or not being able to communicate. A definition of ’under-served’ communities is required because different specialists see communication disability differently. Therefore, it is hard to say how many people in ‘under-served’ communities aren’t getting the therapy they need, because people see communication disabilities differently, meaning that we can not count how many people with a speech disability there are let alone how many are not getting the therapy they need.
Some people suggest that a reason some people might not seek speech therapy could be cultural (how they grew up and what is normal). While people from one culture might see a child having a communication disability, people from another culture would dismiss it and say it wasn’t a problem. Another idea is that whilst recognising that their child is slow to talk, some people may seek out the community for support as opposed to looking going outside the community (e.g. a hospital) because it could lead to the being judged by other member of the community.
The paper mentions the programme called ‘Child Talk – What Works’ which is specifically interested in speech-language services and looks at ‘under-served’ communities regarding speech-language therapy services in the United Kingdom. The programme identifies that community groups are perceived to not currently (at the time of publication) access speech-language therapy services and investigates why this may be.