Supporting people with communication disorders: A path to building stronger healthcare.

Back to Our thinking

Communication is a vital part of our daily lives as it allows us to connect with others, understand the world around us, and express our thoughts, feelings and ideas. However, for some individuals, it can be challenging to communicate due to the presence of communication disorders. Communication disorders can manifest in different ways and can affect people of all ages.

The prevalence of communication disorders in Australia varies depending on the type of disorder (speech, language, hearing, or central processing) and the population being studied. Hearing loss alone is one of the most common health conditions in Australia, affecting 1 in 7 people[1]. Communication disorders can affect the development of speech, language and reading skills, as well as impede one’s ability to process and comprehend information. These difficulties can also impact access to education, employment, and healthcare. It is, therefore, crucial to address and treat communication disorders to support overall well-being and development.

Supporting service providers to improve consumer outcomes

Many organisations in Australia provide services and support for individuals with communication disorders, and often in primary health care settings.

The Larter team often works with service providers who provide care for people with communication disorders. We deliver evaluations, write business cases and funding submissions, and support stakeholder engagement to help build a stronger primary health care system which delivers an improved consumer experience in cost effective ways.

For example, Larter recently evaluated an Early Intervention Speech Pathology program funded by the Central and Eastern Sydney Primary Health Network (CESPHN). The program provides speech pathology screening, assessment and therapy services to children living with vulnerabilities (including a specific component for Aboriginal children). Larter’s evaluation approach identified the program’s achievements and learnings, collecting data from service providers, the PHN, and early learning staff. Our findings showed that the program improved access to diagnostic and therapeutic supports for children with speech and communication difficulties, increased the likelihood of achieving developmental milestones for participating children, and had capacity building benefits for early childhood education staff. 

In another example, Larter has developed a business case for the design and construction of a new Autism Centre of Excellence. Autism is associated with challenges in social skills, and repetitive/restrictive behaviours and interests. With a wide spectrum of symptoms, it impacts people in different ways. Young people with autism are at higher risk for mental health-related emergency room visits and may require psychiatric hospitalisation due to severe behaviours[2]. Without proper treatment, these behaviours are likely to persist into adulthood and increase in severity, placing a strain on health and justice systems. Larter was approached by an autism services provider, with whom we collected data and reviewed evidence to support the proposed service.

How Larter can help you

Larter has a wealth of experience in helping organisations establish new services and sites. We understand the most effective strategies in government and partner closely with organisations in the health sector to achieve their goals.

Reach out to us today and let’s explore how we can work together to enhance your services and make a lasting impact.

Contact us to discuss how Larter can support your organisation.


[1] Hearing Care Industry Association 2020, Hearing for life – The value of hearing services for vulnerable Australians, Report prepared with assistance from Deloitte Access Economics, Canberra.

[2] Kalb LG, Stuart EA, Freedman B, Zablotsky B, Vasa R. Psychiatric-related emergency department visits among children with an autism spectrum disorder. Pediatr Emerg Care. 2012 Dec; 28(12):1269-76. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e3182767d96. PMID: 23187983.

Image by pch.vector on Freepik