Disabilty charity Scope has called for a national audit of adults with communication needs, as part of moves to tackle significant gaps in services.
The call came in the final report of the charity’s three-year No Voice, No Choice campaign to improve access to alternative or augmentative modes of communication (AAC) – equipment and support designed to help people with communication needs.
While Scope has estimated that 1.5 million people in the UK have speech, language or communication needs and 600,000 people could benefit from AAC, the real figures could be much higher because of the lack of available data.
It said the information gap was down to inadequate diagnoses and low rates of referral to services as well as the lack of robust data collection methods and an agreed definition of speech, language and communication needs.
Ruth Scott, director of policy and campaigns at Scope, said: “Without knowing the true picture of how many disabled adults have communciation needs, little can be done to ensure they are provided with the right support.”
The report also called for improvements in commissioning through the creation of regional centres of excellence that would support local services.