Academic journal article College Student Journal

A Study of Public Awareness of Speech-Language Pathology in Amman

Academic journal article College Student Journal

A Study of Public Awareness of Speech-Language Pathology in Amman

Article excerpt

Background: Statistical levels of awareness and knowledge of speech-language pathology and of communication disorders are currently unknown among the public in the Middle East, including Jordan.

Aims: This study reports the results of an investigation of public awareness and knowledge of speech-language pathology in Amman-Jordan. It also determines the level of knowledge of communication disorders that the general public has.

Methods: This study was carried out through a questionnaire. A total of 1203 participants were surveyed about their knowledge of the field of speech-language pathology and of communication disorders in a local shopping mall. Information was collected based on participants' age (ranging from 18-50 years), gender, qualifications and occupation, and whether they have children or not.

Results: Public awareness and knowledge of speech -language pathology in Amman-Jordan appear to be limited .Participants with the most accurate knowledge of speech-language pathology and communication disorders, mostly females with children, had bachelor degree in health- or education-related fields. Moreover, results indicated lack of familiarity with different types of communication disorders except for stuttering.

Key words: awareness, speech-language pathology, communication disorders, speech language pathologist.

Introduction

One of the main significant principles of imperative international organizations, such as the United Nations (U.N) and UNESCO, involve struggling for the rights of children and their family. According to (U.N) principles 'The child shall be entitled to grow and develop in health; to this end, special care and protection shall be provided to both him and to his mother, including adequate pre-natal and post-natal care' (U.N. 1959, Principle 4). Moreover, the UNESCO states 'Early childhood care and education programmes for children aged up to six years ought to be developed and/or reoriented to

promote physical, intellectual and social development and school readiness. These programmes have a major economic value for the individual, the family and the society in preventing the aggravation of disabling conditions' (UNESCO, 1994, [section]53).

The principles of both the U.N and UNESCO, resembles with the aims of the European agency for development in special needs education, as it intends to offer the child and his family the support and service needed, where early intervention is consigned to bring about the necessary action needed to be taken as early as possible during any time in his/her education. Early intervention is essential for children who have impairments that would limit the normal development of the physical, cognitive, emotional, and social and communication aspects in a child's life. Impairments as such are caused by children or adults who happen to have disorders underlying the umbrella of communication disorders. The goal of early intervention, as considered by Blackman, is to preclude or limit the physical, cognitive, emotional, and other restrictions of young children with biological or environmental risk factors. However, the main obstacle that we face in the Middle-East and specifically in Jordan is the lack of awareness of communication disorders and the lack of awareness of the speech-language pathology profession and its services.

Communication is the process that participants use to exchange information and ideas, needs and desires (Justics, 2006). The process is an active one that involves encoding, transmitting, and decoding the intended message (Robert & Owens, 2008). However, regardless of the way that individuals communicate with one another--whether it is speech and hearing, reading and writing, or sign or further manual means--communication occurs through the process of encoding, transmitting, and decoding the intended message, and consequently communication disorders or impairments are present when a person has significant difficulty in one or more of these aspects of communication, taking into account sharing language, dialect and culture with people (Hedge, 2001). …

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