Did you know that at this moment 1.1 million Australians have difficulty communicating?

Did you know that almost the same number of people have trouble eating a meal or swallowing a drink safely?

Did you know that these communication and swallowing problems have far-reaching, life-changing and life limiting consequences?

If you didn’t know any of these things, it’s time to Start the Conversation.

Speech Pathology Week is the annual week that raises awareness about the hundreds of thousands of Australians who live with a communication or swallowing difficulty, as well as the professionals who work with them to improve or regain their quality of life.

This year speech pathologists around the country will be starting the conversation with you about the significant and often preventable disadvantage that people with communication and swallowing difficulties face each day.

They want you to know that these people are over-represented in the youth justice system and are much more likely to experience an adverse event in hospital. They also want you to know that they have poorer health, educational and vocational outcomes and are more prone to mental health problems than other Australians.

They also want you to know that for many, if not most people, their outcomes can be substantially improved with the right services and the right supports.