Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Learning Donna Faragher is adding her strong support to this year’s Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) Awareness Day and has again called on the McGowan Government to introduce speech pathology services into WA schools.
Mrs Faragher said the Day was an important awareness raising initiative with this year’s campaign, Growing with DLD, highlighting the fact that DLD is a lifelong disorder but with strong and individualised support, people living with DLD can achieve and thrive.
“Research shows that DLD affects around 1 in 14 people. On average, 2 students in every class of 30 have the disorder with an estimated 38,000 young people in Western Australia impacted.
“Despite these figures DLD is often referred to as a hidden disorder with many people not being aware of it and it often going undiagnosed.
“DLD emerges in early childhood and persists through to adulthood with people living with the disorder experiencing significant difficulties in learning, understanding, and using spoken language.
“Obviously this can create significant challenges for a child’s ability to learn and to successfully communicate with family members and teachers. The ability to make friends in the playground can be all that much harder for children living with DLD.
“These can all have life-long consequences if not addressed, affecting a person’s health, social and emotional well-being,” Mrs Faragher said.
Mrs Faragher said recently released research, led by Curtin University, identified an alarming number of children with DLD are not getting the support they need.
“As part of an overall response, the researchers would like to see the introduction of speech pathology services directly into schools.
“This is a measure that I have long supported as it would allow more children to be identified and to receive individual face-to-face support on school grounds.
“Early identification of DLD and other language difficulties is critical, and this measure would absolutely have a positive benefit for both students and their teachers.
“Most other States have introduced a school-based speech pathology service and I again call on Education Minister Sue Ellery to introduce this service in Western Australia as a matter of priority,” Mrs Faragher said.