Communication Disorders

Speech and language disorders may result from hearing loss, cerebral palsy, learning disability, or physical conditions. The disorder may result in stuttering, problems with articulation, voice disorders, or aphasia.

Accommodations may include

  • modifications of assignments such as one-to-one presentation or use of computer with voice synthesizer
  • substitutions for oral class report

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Speech and language disorders may be managed by computerized voice synthesizers or electronic speaking machines. Speech therapy is frequently used to improve certain disorders. Anxiety and stress often accompany oral communication and exacerbate the problem.

Special considerations
The student may speak slower in class and should be given time to express her/his 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.

Page last modified July 23, 2014