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According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1.2 million Australians have communication disability. Individuals living with communication disability may find it difficult to understand and be understood by others.

During Speech Pathology Week (23rd to 29th August), Afford will be celebrating the valuable support speech pathologists provide for individuals experiencing communication difficulties. Personalised support from a speech pathologist can identify communication support needs and strategies to develop specific skills.

Speech pathologists within Afford’s Allied Health team use a variety of strategies to develop an individual’s communication skills, one of which is the PODD system.

A PODD (Pragmatic Organisation Dynamic Display) is a book to support communication between people with complex communication needs and their family, friends, carers or support workers. The PODD is custom made for each client and contains a range of symbols and words.

A PODD offers personalised vocabulary (using symbols, photos and text) for the client. The speech pathologist will identify their client’s receptive and expressive language levels and overall needs to customise template sizes to support their client to extend/improve their language skills. PODDs can grow as the client’s language abilities progress.

PODDs can be purchased through an NDIS Plan (as assistive technology budget or through therapist hours) or as an out-of-pocket expense. It is just one element of the wide variety of services Afford speech pathologists offer.

If you think your loved one may benefit from their own PODD book, first speak to an Afford speech pathologist to see if a PODD is right for your loved one.

Contact our Allied Health team on 1300 233 673 or alliedhealth@afford.com.au.

Facilitating Successful Communication – Tips Adapted from Speech Pathology Australia’s website:
• Treat the individual with dignity and respect
• Have a friendly manner and speak in a common tone, volume and speed
• Choose a quiet place and avoid loud, crowded areas
• Don’t guess, tell the person if you don’t understand what they are trying to communicate
• Be patient and give the individual time to respond in their own way
• Don’t be afraid to ask the individual about methods or devices that may help you communicate with them

Get more resources and information about communication disability via the Speech Pathology Australia website.