Our Say – PM Hang Out

Last week we again took part in an Our Say (www.oursay.org) forum where Australians were given the opportunity to pose a question to our Prime Minister, with the top three voted questions to be answered in a live public forum. You can see our questions here: http://oursay.org/hangout-with-the-prime-minister/ldquo-one-in-fourteen-children-in-australia-is-born-with-a-limited-capacity-to-understand-or-use-spoken-language/page:2#comments


2058 questions were asked. 109,290 votes were made. 8264 comments were written.

Our question, highlighting the need to address the lack of understanding, recognition and funding for children with language disorders, received 1034 votes and was ranked 18th highest voted question! Whilst our question was not answered by the Prime Minister, we were able to raise awareness and receive support from people not only in the CHI.L.D community but within the Australian community. Thank you to all who voted and took the time to comment. Below are some of the comments made in response to our question:


As parents of a child with a diagnosed Language Disorder, we would really like to have this question answered. However, we would also like to have Language Disorders recognised by the Local, State and Federal Governments. This would mean that our child would have access to the help required to make his life (and ours) easier and more productive.


As a parent of a child with a language disorder and chairman of the board of a not for profit organisation operating a school specifically for such children, this question is long overdue for attention. The consequences of inaction are dire and far more costly in the long run.


As a dad of four ( yes, 4) children with speech and language issues it becomes hard to fit into the mainstream of society. Without the private funds we used to have, our kids can not go to the only school dedicated to speech and language in the southern hemisphere, The Glenleighden School. We now have only two options, public schooling, which is so underfunded for special needs (let alone speech and language delay) it’s depressing. Or home schooling. We have chosen the later. With the way society treats my family, I feel we’d be better off having a different problem. Kinda feel like living in a Leaper Colony without the island. Anyway, we do our best but I feel for others who find the fight much harder.


My daughter has a diagnosed Language Disorder. I do not have the resources available to be able to send my child to the only Speech/Language school in the country. She goes to a normal school where it is difficult, not only for teachers, but other peers for them to interact with her. More training for teachers in main stream schools will assist them to understand these children and assist them to achieve.


Number 1 there is no shame in having a learning disability or speech disorder we have to cross that barrier as parents we have to deal with our own shame issues while some may free themselves many don’t and it sets a cycle so then the child doesn’t receive the help because no-one is actually acknowledging the difficulties it poses. because the kids look like any other kid and you can’t see the disorder it goes misdiagnosed & no-one understands what is wrong with the child because the parents are falling apart from lack of support from family friends and community. i have been there


I, as a parent of a child with a language disorder, have been there as well and I could not agree more. It is a very hard road we tread however, it could be made so much easier.


Speech and language disorders are often ‘silent and invisible’ disabilities that have significant long-term impact on the individual, their family and the community. As the peak body for the speech pathologists who commonly work with Australians living with a speech and language disorder, Speech Pathology Australia strongly supports this question of the Prime Minister. We share the frustration and concern of the families of children with speech and language disorders, who are coping (or not coping) with the system as it stands. There is no universal national or state legislation in place to determine consistent services and adequate funding for children with speech and communication disorders, and subsequently, provision of services prior to and within schools is inconsistent, fragmented or non-existent. Access to speech pathology services should not be a ‘postcode lottery’.Speech Pathology Australia hopes that discussion about a national framework to identify and provide intervention to children with a speech and language disorder will help ensure that all children are able to receive necessary specialist intervention, access their education and not become a statistic.


As a speech pathologist I work with these children on a daily basis. They need more support, especially during school years! It is unfair that children with an ASD diagnosis get some much funding, while children with speech and language disorders are ignored.


As a Parent of a child with a Language Disorder, I know how little funding is available for our children during their school years. I am in the middle of transitioning my child from the Glenleighden School back into mainstream and I will have to pay for any extra teacher aide time myself. We are allocated 6 hours of teacher aide time per week – this can be shared amongst the other children that require help. This is something that we will have to pay out of our own pockets for the rest of our son’s school life, on top of our school fees for the only private school in our area that would accept him.


As a single parent of child with a diagnosed language disorder I am fortunate that my daughter attends Glenleighden School. But there’s an additional cost. In order to cover fees I have to work long hours which means my daughter doesn’t get to see Mummy drop her off at school or pick her up after school and have quality time with her family during the week, I know I’m not alone in this. We need to have Language Disorders acknowledged and recognised. Thousands of people recognise this why wont the Government? Without the persistence and dedication love and committment of so many parents in the same situation what would happen to our children left in the hands of the Government? We’re doing you a favour and its time it was recognised and not ignored.


 Thankyou again for your support. Let’s keep shouting from the rooftops so our kids can be heard.

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