Speech and Language Impairments
A speech and language impairment is a limitation in the process of speech and/or hearing which impedes the educational process and necessitates the procurement of supportive services or programs. There are several different types of hearing and communication disabilities. Some can be partly corrected with a hearing aid and some cannot. Some kinds of communication disabilities do not simply reduce the volume of sound; they also distort it, so that words cannot be understood.
Accommodations may include:
- One-to-one presentations or use of computers with voice synthesizers.
- Substitutions for oral class reports.
Speech and language impairments may be managed by computer voice synthesizers or electronic-speaking machines. Speech therapy is frequently used to improve certain disorders. Anxiety and stress often accompany oral communication and can exacerbate the problem.
The student may speak more slowly in class and should be given time to express his or her thoughts. Interrupting or completing a sentence for the student is not helpful and may lead to embarrassment. It is appropriate to ask the student to repeat the statement. Summarizing the message helps the student to check for accuracy of understanding. The instructor’s acceptance and support of the student is important to facilitate communication and manage the speech disorder. If an oral presentation is required, the instructor should discuss alternatives with the student.