August 7, 2013

Applying the World Report on Disability to children’s communication

The following manuscript has been accepted for publication

McLeod, S., McAllister, L., McCormack, J. & Harrison, L. J. (2013, in press August). Applying the World Report on Disability to children’s communication. Disability and Rehabilitation. 
Here is the abstract

Purpose The World Report on Disability is an important milestone in the recognition of people with disabilities; however, the Report acknowledges that people with communication difficulties may be underrepresented in estimates of disability. Consequently, this paper applies the nine recommendations from the World Report on Disability to supporting children’s communication skills.
Method Australia is similar to most Minority World countries since it places high regard on articulate and literate communication. Recent large-scale Australian studies of children with speech, language, and communication needs were reviewed to determine prevalence, impact, and associated environmental and personal factors. Studies of met and unmet need were reviewed and discussed in relation to legislation and policies.
Recent years have seen improvements in the collection of and access to disability data about children’s communication, including the involvement of children in research about the impact of communication difficulties on their lives. The prevalence of speech and language impairment in children is high and is associated with poorer educational and social outcomes at school-age. Significant unmet need for services was noted, and there were differences in health, education, and disability policies regarding access to services.

Updated legislation, policies, and practices are needed to more effectively support access to services to support children’s communication across health, education, and disability sectors.