Our Say – What happens now?

Thank you to all who voted for our question on the Our Say web site. When voting closed our question had 1176 votes, the next 831 and number three 200 votes.

What happens now?

The following is taken from the Our Say site.

“OurSay teamed up with OurCommunity and Catholic Care to ask users where governments are falling short and how they can work better with NGO’s and community groups. After 2 weeks, the top three trending questions were put to a panel at the Communities in Control conference. Voting was then open for 2 weeks after the conference. Now your three most popular questions are being up to local, state and federal government to be turned into policy responses. More answers to come!”

Let us hope so!

Our CHI.L.D media guru Bruce was asked to provide a blog for the OurSay website. Here it is:

 

Having spent a career as a reporter, producer and executive producer on radio, as a reporter and producer on television, as the editor of a newspaper and as an academic and media commentator, I have always had a voice … a voice to cover the stories that had to be covered (or uncovered) and to say the things that had to be said. But now I find myself working with children who have no voice. Literally. Children who fail to gain, fail to understand, and are unable to use, their native language.

One in 14 of the entire population suffers from this dreadful condition … a condition in which children and adults are unable to communicate their wants and needs and feelings, almost anything, to even their own families. But it gets worse. Half the youth offenders in this country have a clinically significant but previously undiagnosed speech language disorder. Half! This is a condition which affects everyone!

And why not? If you can’t use language and can’t communicate with others, and no one is there to understand or help you, of course you will become isolated, disaffected, angry and probably anti-social. Primary language disorder or speech language disorder affects five times as many children as autism yet families receive no assistance and the condition attracts just one thirtieth of the research funding. The condition is not recognised as a disability by the federal government and not by most state governments. How can that be? In a country where it is illegal to discriminate against another on the grounds of colour, creed or even age, it is okay to discriminate against them on the grounds of their disability!

The organisation for which I work (CHI.L.D. Association) operates a school for these children (the only one in the entire Southern Hemisphere!), a clinic to provide diagnostic and therapy services to children and their families, an outreach service to schools and communities throughout the state and an eTherapy service to remote and isolated children. Thankfully, the Queensland government does recognise this disorder as a disability. Nevertheless, to be enrolled at The Glenleighden School in Brisbane (and parents move here from all over Australia) a child must have no more than two per cent of the age-appropriate speech language capacity of his or her peers. Two per cent is as good as zero. So what happens to the child with three per cent? We do our best but there are thousands of three per cent children out there.

With intervention and the right program much can be done. Our aim at the school is to transition children to a mainstream school as soon as that is feasible. Sometimes it is a matter of months, or a year, or three or four years. Sometimes not at all. But we provide them all with an appropriate education, with life skills and a capacity to live fruitful and enjoyable lives. Finding the funds (our parents pay substantial fees) is a struggle and the sacrifices parents make to access the services we offer are huge.They deserve a great deal more.

Thank you to “Our Say” for the opportunity to pose our question.

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