What is Speech And Language Therapy & Why it Matters

Posted on
November 17, 2021
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Communication disorders are more common than you think

There are high chances that you know someone with a communication disorder. Indeed, it is estimated that nearly 20% of the population may experience communication difficulties at some point in their lives (source: RCSLT). As an illustration, if you think about a soccer team, at least two players suffer from some sort of communication disorders.

Among children, speech language and communication needs (SLCN) are the most common type of special educational need. Around 1.4m children in the UK have long term SLCN that they won’t grow out of (source: ICAN). This represents two or three children in every classroom.

And did you know that over 70m people stutter? Although stuttering hasn't prevented Winston Churchill, Joe Biden, Kylie Minogue or Nicole Kidman to shine, a recent poll sone by Stamma highlight that 70% of British adults who have a stammer feel the need to hide it.

Last, let's talk about aphasia, a language disorder that happens when the brain has been damaged. According to the National Aphasia Association, more people have aphasia than have many other common conditions, including cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, or muscular dystrophy.

Speech and Language skills are key for one to thrive professionally and personally

It might sound trivial but being able to communicate effectively is one of the most important of all life skills. From building meaningful personal relationships to negotiating a deal to express your own identity, speech and language skills are key for one to thrive. At the end of the day, communication represents an essential and very important human need as well as a basic human right.

Just sharing below a few statistics demonstrating the importance of building solid communication skills (source: RCSLT)

  • 81% of children with emotional and behavioural disorders have significant unidentified communication needs
  • Children who experience difficulties with speaking and understanding are over four times less likely to pass GCSEs in Maths and English
  • More than 60% of young people who are accessing youth justice services present with SLCN which are largely unrecognised
  • 88% of long-term unemployed young men have also been found to have SLCN
  • Vocabulary difficulties at age five are significantly associated with poor literacy, mental health and employment outcomes at age 34

Communication disorders impact all corners of one's life. It has been proven that children with language difficulties have an impoverished quality of life in terms of moods and emotions, and are more at risk in terms of social acceptance and bullying. That's one of the reason why speech and language therapy matters, and why early intervention is key.

Speech and Language Therapy can have a huge impact on one's life

By providing treatment, support and care for people with communication difficulties, speech and language therapy can significantly improve their lives. Benefits go beyond improving communication skills and include improvements in social skills, peer relationships, self-confidence and literacy among other things.

From an economic perspective, it is estimated that each £1 invested in enhanced speech and language therapy for children with specific language impairment generates £6.43 through increased lifetime earnings (source: RCSLT). In the US, the economic costs of communication disorders is close to $200b per year (source: R J Ruben).

Communication skills are also closely linked to mental health. There is a high incidence and prevalence of speech, language and communication and swallowing problems associated with mental health in both children and adult. 84% attendees at area psychiatric services had language impairment and 74% had communication difficulties (source: RCSLT).

That's why, at Noala, we're on a mission to make speech and language therapy mainstream. Let's enable with communication disorders to raise their voice!

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