More than 1.1 million Australians have a communication or swallowing disorder that impacts on their daily life.
Speech Pathologists work with them because communication is a basic human right. Here are some tips for you when communicating with someone who has communication difficulties.
This Speech Pathology Week Your Community Health is supporting Speech Pathology Australia’s efforts to raise awareness of the importance of communication access and why speech pathology is so important in helping many people communicate.
If you want to improve your communication with people who have speech or communication difficulties, try and follow these tips.
Tips for successful communication
- Always treat the person with the communication disability with dignity and respect
- Just because you may not understand them, doesn’t mean they haven’t got something important to say
- Understand there are many ways to communicate, not just in the way you usually do
Ask the person with the disability what will help with communication
- Avoid loud locations, find a quiet place so it is easier to concentrate and hear
- Listen carefully
- When you don’t understand, let them know you are having difficulty understanding
- If you think the person has not understood, repeat what you have said or say it a different way
- If you’re still having difficulties, asking yes or no questions can help
- Ask the person to repeat or try another approach if you don’t understand. To make sure you are understood, check with the person that you have understood them correctly
- If you ask a question, wait for the person to reply. They may take longer to reply than you expected but it is important to give people time. No one likes being talked over!
Allow the person time to respond, so always be patient
- Speak directly to the person and make eye contact (Be mindful though that there are some people who may not want you to look at them, for example some people with autism spectrum disorder)
- Speak normally. There is no need for you to raise your voice or slow your speech
For more information visit Speech Pathology Australia or read Scope Australia’s Communications for All booklet.