Fast Facts

How communication disorders affect Australians:

– Over 1.1 million Australians have difficulty communicating right now
– Many children with autism, Down Syndrome and cerebral palsy begin life with a communication disorder
– In the average primary school classroom, three children have a communication disorder – that’s 12 per cent of children in Australian primary schools
– Indigenous children have three times more hearing problems than non-Indigenous children
– Almost four students in each Year 10 classroom cannot access their education because 14 per cent of 15 year olds have only basic literacy skills
– There is a high correlation between communication difficulties and poor mental health
– Forty-six per cent of young Australian offenders may have a language impairment

The link to reading –
– Children with a language impairment are six times more likely to have a reading problem that children without
– “…between 30% and 77% of children with SSDs (speech sound disorders) struggle with reading.” (Anthony, Greenblatt, Dungelberger, Anthony, Williams, Zhang (2011, p. 146)
– The severity of literacy difficulties increases with…
* Comorbid language impairment
* Severity of SSD (speech sound disorder)
* Persistence of SSD (speech sound disorder)
* Atypical speech errors (as opposed to development of speech errors or distortions)

HOWEVER – children with only mild to moderate SSD (speech sound disorder) and no language difficulties still have an increased risk. (Anthony et al., 2011b)

Research clearly states that children who have a strong basis in phonological awareness combined with well developed oral language skills, are best able to cope with the demands of learning to read and write when they begin formal schooling.

Phonological awareness, simply, is the ability to understand the sound structure of a spoken word.

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