The (in)visibility of children with communication impairment in Australian health, education, and disability legislation and policies

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Abstract

Communication impairment is a prevalent childhood disability. The way nations formally recognise communication impairment effects the provision of services and long-term outcomes of these children. Children with communication impairment are specifically identified in legislation and policy in the USA and UK; however this is not the case in Australia. Current Australian legislation and policy does not adequately address the needs of children with communication impairment, particularly those with communication impairment of unknown origin. Australian allied health, education, and disability service providers are often left to interpret ambiguous policies to make a case for service delivery to such children. In addition, as Australian state and territory criteria for specialist services are becoming increasingly stringent, access for children with mild-moderate communication impairments is severely limited. Recently, the Council of Australian Governments agreed to a partnership between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments to pursue substantial reform in the areas of education, skills and early childhood development. This partnership provides an opportunity to improve the educational, social, and health prospects of children with communication impairment as part of national 'education revolution', and in turn bolster the nation's productivity, economy, social and cultural capital.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-75
Number of pages9
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Speech Language and Hearing
Volume13
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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