Charles Sturt needs support for communication study
The Sector > Research > Charles Sturt conducts study into communication challenges for young children

Charles Sturt conducts study into communication challenges for young children

by Freya Lucas

January 17, 2024

Caitlin Slaney, a Charles Sturt University PhD student, is conducting a study into the ways children’s communication disabilities can influence how they interact and participate in everyday life and how to improve their experiences as a result.


Ms Slaney is completing her PhD in Speech Pathology, and is seeking the input of primary carers of preschool-aged children with communication disabilities to participate in her study by sharing their insight in a 60- to 90-minute interview.


“Disabilities around communication can show themselves in a number of forms, from challenges speaking, hearing, listening, understanding, reading, writing, using their voice or even with social skills,” Ms Slaney said.


“This could be a result of Cerebral Palsy, Autism, an intellectual disability or global development delay. But children are also able to use a range of other forms of communication, such as speech, gestures, sign language, speech devices, facial expressions and visuals.”


The interview will focus on their lived experience of participation in community activities for their child or children with communication disabilities, and discuss what it means for them and their family, what it looks like and how they work with and around it, Ms Slaney explained. 


Community participation for children includes different activities such as playing sport, going to the supermarket or cinema, going for a bike ride or joining a playgroup, and is vital for their physical and mental health, social and emotional growth, and quality of life.


“This participation offers children opportunities to creatively express themselves, develop friendships and their sense of identity, as well as establish a sense of belonging,” Ms Slaney said.


“I believe it is important to understand the community participation experiences of children with communication disabilities and then the support necessary for them to actively engage in community activities.”


To be eligible for the study parents must live in Australia and have at least one child aged three to six years old with communication disabilities.


For more information or to get involved, visit the study website.

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