Cost of doing little

THE person most qualified to help Ms Simonovska's autistic son (The Age, 22/8) learn to communicate is a speech pathologist. Having just qualified at the only university in the state that offers this course, I am less than optimistic about his chances of getting the help he needs and deserves. Funding the therapy is great: finding the therapist can be tricky.

To study in this overlooked field, you must be prepared to forgo the government subsidies offered to courses such as nursing and teaching. Furthermore, the almost $40,000 in HECS debt makes for a great incentive to go overseas and work, where my wage may be roughly double that of my Australian peers.

Research on the high degree to which people with communication difficulties are disadvantaged has been unequivocal for nearly a century, when prison populations were surveyed for speech/language problems.

As with so many examples in society, the less we invest early on, the more we all pay later.

Rachael Delahunty, Parkdale