Speech pathologists play an essential role in the multidisciplinary team supporting individuals who have experienced trauma.
If experienced in the childhood years, abuse or neglect is called ‘complex’ or ‘developmental’ trauma. This type of trauma includes any form of maltreatment experienced by children including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional/psychological abuse, neglect, and witnessing family and domestic violence. These experiences for children can impact the way their brains grow and develop as well as how they approach relationships.
Complex trauma can result in children experiencing difficulties across different areas of their development, including their communication skills. Research has identified that most children who have experienced complex trauma have more difficulties with their communication skills than other children their same age. Speech pathologists, therefore, have a critical role to play in supporting children and young people who have been affected by trauma.
Trauma can also be experienced by war veterans or others who have undergone terrifying experiences. This trauma often results in mental health needs. Considering the high co-morbidity of communication difficulties and mental ill-health, speech pathologists have an essential role to play in teams delivering therapeutic services to traumatised individuals.
More information about speech pathology in mental health services is available on this website.
A Position Statement and Practice Guideline on trauma is currently being developed.
Information for the public, including links to training resources for mental health clinicians, is available on this website.