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Redefining the Survival of the Fittest: Communication Disorders in the 21st Century

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Objectives: To determine the economic effect on the US economy of the cost of caring for people with communication disorders as well as the cost of lost or degraded employment opportunities for people with such disorders, including disorders of hearing, voice, speech, and language. Study design: Survey of available historical and contemporary governmental and scholarly data concerning work force distribution and the epidemiology of disorders of hearing, voice, speech, and language. Method: Analysis of epidemiological and economic data for industrialized countries, North America, and the United States. Results: Communication disorders are estimated to have a prevalence of 5% to 10%. People with communication disorders may be more economically disadvantaged than those with less severe disabilities The data suggest that people with severe speech disabilities are more often found to be unemployed or in a lower economic class than people with hearing loss or other disabilities. Communication disorders may cost the United States from $154 billion to $186 billion per year, which is equal to 2.5% to 3% of the Gross National Product. Conclusions: Communication disorders reduce the economic output of the United States, whose economy has become dependent on communication-based employment. This trend will increase during the next century. The economic cost and the prevalence rates of communication disorders in the United States indicate that they will be a major public health challenge for the 21st century.
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... In addition, people with DLD are less likely to pursue higher education or find consistent employment and tend to work in elementary and low skilled occupations, for example in cleaning or delivery services (Conti-Ramsden & Durkin, 2012;. This trend has been backed up by Ruben's (2000) economic analysis, highlighting the urgency to support those with communication disorders because of changes in occupations that occurred in the past century. In Figure 1 (Ruben, 2000, p. 241) Ruben (2000) points out the increasing importance of communication skills in the job market. ...
... This trend has been backed up by Ruben's (2000) economic analysis, highlighting the urgency to support those with communication disorders because of changes in occupations that occurred in the past century. In Figure 1 (Ruben, 2000, p. 241) Ruben (2000) points out the increasing importance of communication skills in the job market. ...
... Although Ruben (2000) refers specifically to the US, globalisation has contributed to making communication one of the key 21st century skills worldwide. While language can be easily taken for granted, experiencing SLCN can cause wide-ranging and lasting damage to children's lives. ...
Thesis
Children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) have difficulties expressing or understanding language without having any other neurodevelopmental condition or physical impairment. DLD places affected children at risk of many undesired developmental outcomes. Peer relationships of children with DLD are impacted the most; however, many children with DLD are accepted by their peers and report having good quality friendships. To understand the links between language and peer relationships of children with DLD, scholars have examined children’s language, behaviour, and other psychosocial attributes. Research findings, however, are inconclusive about the relative contribution of these factors, and what is more, they tend to overly rely on adult informants whose reports of children’s language, behaviours, and social functioning vary. This doctoral research project actively involved children with DLD and their peers to learn directly from children about their peer relationships. These aims were delivered through two parts – analytical research synthesis (systematised literature review) and primary data collection (series of case studies). Both parts helped answer the project’s research questions: 1. What are the within-child characteristics promoting the peer relationships of children with DLD? 2. What research methods facilitate the participation of children with DLD in studies about their peer relationships in school? A mixed methods approach was taken to combine quantitative and qualitative data. In part one, the analytical research synthesis, identified studies were reviewed and categorised based on the levels of children’s participation in the research. A narrative analysis synthetised the studies’ findings about the within-child characteristics contributing to the peer relationships of children with DLD. Part two was conducted as a series of case studies, where each child with DLD (n=14) represented a case. Data were collected via parent and teacher reports, observations, sociometric methods, interviews with a friend, and one-to-one meetings that involved language and nonverbal ability assessments, friendship, and wellbeing interviews. A child-centred approach was adopted, including visual supports and art-based tools, to facilitate children’s active engagement in one-on-one meetings. Part two data were analysed through within and cross-case analyses, framework analysis, and friendship formation assessment. Findings from both parts are brought together in a discussion answering the overarching research questions. This project identified that the quantity and quality of language and behaviours of children with DLD need to be considered as distinct contributors to their peer relationships. It further specified self-perception and self-awareness as within-child factors contributing to the peer relationships of children with DLD. Finally, this project revealed peer’s inclusive attitudes as within-child factors promoting the peer relationships of children with DLD. Regarding methods facilitating the participation of children with DLD in studies about their peer relationships, this project identified few studies directly involving children. There are, however, excellent examples of visual support and art-based methods supporting the participation of children with DLD in research. This project updates our knowledge and existing models linking language and children’s social adjustments by identifying within-child factors that need to be considered in future studies. It further demonstrates that it is possible to elicit the voice of children with DLD in studies about their social lives. Together with their peers, children reveal factors that are meaningful to them and their peer relationships. These findings have direct implications for the social inclusion of children with DLD in school, their speech and language therapy outcomes, and future research. Children with DLD and their peers need to be considered as active agents in matters that impact their social lives.
... A study stated that individuals with communication disorders could be economically deprived or more commonly found to be jobless (Ruben 2000). In this same investigation, researchers reported that communication disorders in the USA would be considered a major public health issue in the future (Ruben 2000). ...
... A study stated that individuals with communication disorders could be economically deprived or more commonly found to be jobless (Ruben 2000). In this same investigation, researchers reported that communication disorders in the USA would be considered a major public health issue in the future (Ruben 2000). So it is crucial to improve cultural competency, especially in health professionals, in order to reduce health discrepancies and enhance health effects (Hawala-Druy and Hill 2012). ...
Chapter
The primary aim of this chapter is to illustrate up-to-date international applications of intercultural practices in speech-language pathology/therapy services and also to discuss the importance of intercultural competence and communication in health and education professionals.
... Communication disorders include disorders of hearing, voice, speech, and language [1]. Their prevalence was estimated as 5 to 10% according to self-report in surveys. ...
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... At the end of the 20 th century, 62% of the workforce based their livelihood on communication skills -hearing, voice, speech, and language -and 38% who did not use communication for work -such as farmers and workers -needed it for proper insertion into society. In other words, communication is fundamental for professional and personal growth, and its competence is increasingly demanded in society (3) . ...
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