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Speech and language disabilities refer to problems in receptive and expressive communication. Examples include dysfluency (stuttering), articulation problems, voice disorders, and aphasia (a difficulty using or understanding words, usually as a result of brain injury or loss of voice).

Speech and language disabilities may result from many factors, including traumatic brain injury, stroke, hearing loss, learning disabilities, cleft lip or palate, cerebral palsy, or other neurological/physiological conditions. Speech disabilities may be aggravated by anxiety inherent in oral communication in a group. Adaptations may include the use of a prosthetic device such as an artificial voice box, or non-prosthetic techniques (e.g. the use of a computer to produce speech).


Augmentative communication device (synthesized speech, print output, etc.).

Course modifications, such as one-to-one presentations and the use of a computer with a voice synthesizer.


Permit students the time they require to express themselves without unsolicited aid in filling the gaps in their speech.

Be patient and take time to communicate effectively.

Ask students to repeat or clarify if you do not understand their speech.

Permit students to be silent in class unless speech is a required course competency appropriate for particular students.

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