More help needed to boost children's communication
The Sector > Research > More support needed for children’s communication, CSU expert says

More support needed for children’s communication, CSU expert says

by Freya Lucas

November 28, 2023

There is a strong link between children’s communication ability and their educational, social and occupational outcomes, behaviour, mental health issues and involvement with criminal justice, Charles Sturt University speech-language expert Sharynne McLeod has said in a speech to the  Royal Society of NSW and Learned Academies Forum.


Specifically, communicative competence is established in early childhood, she argued, and impacts participation in society, economic potential, social and cultural cohesion.


Professor McLeod urged the gathering of eminent scientists and other decision makers to deeply consider children’s communication as a means through which to enhance the future of individuals, communities, and society, inviting them to “stop and think about how the ability to talk comes so naturally and easily for many people that we don’t even think about it”.


“It’s like the air we breathe, we only notice it if it is not there,” she said.


“Communication is central to all people and societies, and our ability to communicate impacts our identity, relationships, education, employment, self-determination and engagement in community, social and civic life.”


“Our nation’s prosperity, health, wellbeing and security requires successful communication.”


Communication is so important, she continued, that it is enshrined by the United Nations as a human right, and that communication mediates children’s behaviour, learning and socialisation.


“We need to support children’s communication, to enhance the future of individuals, communities and our society,” Professor McLeod said.

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