Speech disabilities can range from problems with articulation or voice strength to inability to speak. They include stuttering, chronic hoarseness, difficulty in evoking an appropriate word or term, and esophageal speech. As with other disabilities, the extent to which a student with a speech disability will require an accommodation will vary from student to student. Ability to understand student speech will improve with increased exposure to students with speech disabilities.
- Speech may be slower. Students need to have an equal chance to voice their reactions or questions even if it means allotting extra time. Sometimes the student may need extra encouragement to participate in class.
- It is also important to overcome the urge to interrupt or try to complete the student's train of thought.
- In situations where the words or phrases the student is using are not understood, do not be hesitant to ask for repetition of words or phrases. Summarizing the message is often a helpful way of checking with the student as to whether you got the message.
- Do communicate an attitude of acceptance and encouragement to reduce the discomfort and increase the confidence of the student. Do not communicate an attitude of sympathy or embarrassment.
- Oral presentations may be of concern to the student and the instructor. Some students may prefer to do presentations on their own or some students may prefer to have another person voice their presentations. Instructors should feel free to discuss concerns with the student.