11 Apr 2018

Communication as a human right: Citizenship, politics and the role of the speech-language pathologist


According to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” The purpose of this paper is to elucidate communication as a human right in the life of a young man called Declan who has Down syndrome. This commentary paper is co-written by Declan, his sister who is a speech-language pathologist (SLP) with an advocacy role, his SLP, and academics. Declan discusses, in his own words, what makes communication hard, what helps communication, his experiences of speech-language pathology, and what he knows about human rights. He also discusses his passion for politics, his right to be an active citizen and participate in the political process. This paper also focuses on the role of speech-language pathology in supporting and partnering with people with communication disabilities to have their voices heard and exercise their human rights.

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International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 20:1, 16-20