Disability Groups Put Focus on Speech Therapy
By | December 17, 2013

The government’s Disability Action Council (DAC) on Monday announced that it would be including speech therapy in its strategic plan for the next four years to address the problem of speech and swallowing disorders.

DAC Secretary-General Em Chan Makara said the decision comes after research, conducted by the Capacity Building of People with a Disability in the Community Organization (Cabdico), found that communication and swallowing disorders affect an estimated 536,000 people in Cambodia.

Speech therapy can also help people with cognitive impairments, epilepsy and learning difficulties, meaning that about 600,000 people in total could benefit, Mr. Chan Makara told a workshop in Phnom Penh on Monday.

“The people who have difficulties speaking, communicating are being challenged by discrimination,” Mr. Chan Makara said. “This issue I will bring up to the Disability Action Council to include in the national strategic plan for 2014 to 2018, which has been planned to be enforced by early 2014.

DAC will also “encourage speech therapy as part of the [university] curriculum and encourage the ministries of health, education and social affairs to improve conditions for people with speech problems.”

The purpose of the workshop, which continues today, is to teach government officials, NGO workers and educators more about speech and swallowing disorders, which can be serious if left untreated.

Weh Yeoh, a consultant with Cabdico, said the workshop highlighted four areas that need addressing.

“The four problems are that there is no [government] policy on the topic of speech therapy, no community awareness of their needs, no identification or referral for people who need the services and no in-country place for teaching local speech therapists,” Mr. Yeoh said.

“The main thing is that there is a common recognition of the problem and there needs to be something done about it.”

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A border police officer in Koh Kong province’s Mondol Seima district was arrested Saturday after allegedly killing a man with a rock during a drunken row, local officials said on Sunday.

About 1,000 workers protested outside the Chinese-owned Komchay Mear Trading factory in Prey Veng province on Saturday morning after managers refused to give them a government-mandated salary advance for the Pchum Ben holiday, officials and unionists said on Sunday.

Police in Kandal province’s Sa’ang district on Sunday found the body of a man who drowned Saturday when a canoe he was paddling with friends on the Bassac River capsized, while a second man who disappeared under water during the accident is presumed dead.

Local authorities in Oddar Meanchey province on Saturday confiscated more than 220 pieces of illegally logged wood found inside and nearby a warehouse owned by a local military officer, but have decided not to arrest or prosecute him.

A guard at the Kandal Provincial Prison who allegedly colluded with an inmate in an attempt to extort $50,000 from the CEO of the Singapore-based development firm HLH Group was charged by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Sunday, officials said.

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