Media release: Support for development of an Early Years Strategy

Speech Pathology Australia, the peak body representing Australian speech pathologists who are core members of educational teams in children’s early years of language and literacy development, is hopeful that today’s Federal Government Early Years Summit held in Canberra will generate further investment in access to speech pathology services in early childhood centres, the development of funding models to ensure children have access to intervention, and leads to endorsement of the National Early Language and Literacy Strategy.  

 “Today’s summit is recognition of the importance of a child’s early years to language and literacy development. In 2021 almost 23% of Australian children who started primary school were at risk or were vulnerable in the development areas of communication. And we know that when children start behind they usually stay behind,” said Speech Pathology Australia National President, Tim Kittel who is attending the summit. 

“The early years of a child’s life (from birth to five years) are a critical time for children’s speech, language, and communication development. These skills develop best in language rich environments with quality interactions and exposure to the speech and language of others.” 

The Association strongly advocates for all Australian children to have access to speech pathology support in education settings, commensurate to need. There is strong evidence to indicate that early identification of speech, language and communication needs and access to appropriate interventions during the pre-school years can have a profound effect on a child’s health, development, educational and wellbeing outcomes in the longer term.

As members of the National Early Language and Literacy Coalition (NELLC), the Association is keen for the Government to endorse the Proposed National Early Language and Literacy Strategy presented in 2021. The strategy is an existing “road map” to address many of the known contributors to the current issues in Australian children’s language and literacy development and we continue to advocate for the adoption of the strategy. 

Date - 17 February 2023

Media contact: Communications and Marketing Manager, Rebecca Faltyn, [email protected] 

Speech Pathology Australia is the national peak body representing more than 13,500+ speech pathologists. The Association supports and regulates the ethical, clinical and professional standards of its members, as well as lobbying and advocating for access to services that benefit people with communication and swallowing difficulties.