More than 19,000 students across the state have speech and language disorders, and experts say their needs are not being met due to a critical shortage of speech pathologists within the education system.
Speech Pathology Australia’s Brooke Sanderson says the state’s schools need at least 30 more speech therapists to fill the gaps.
She says without direct access to therapy, students will achieve less academically and will be more likely to participate in criminal behaviour.
Miss Sanderson says students from lower socio-economic backgrounds are the most affected.
“We believe that WA’s children with communication problems are missing out with access to speech pathology services simply being a postcode lottery,” she said.
“Without more speech pathology services within schools, many school children won’t be able to keep up with their school work, and evidence shows that some will even end up in the juvenile justice system.”
The Health Department has declined to comment.