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SJHH / Patients & Visitors/ Accessibility/ Standards & Training/ Speech Disability

Speech Disability

Individuals Who Have Speech or Language Impairments

Some people have problems communicating because of their disability. Cerebral palsy, hearing loss or other conditions may make it difficult to pronounce words or may cause slurring or stuttering. They also may prevent the person from expressing themselves or prevent them from understanding written or spoken language. Some people who have severe difficulties may use communication boards or other assistive devices.

Types of assistance an individual might use:

  • Communication board
  • Paper and pen
  • Speech generating device
  • Support person.

Guidelines for interacting with individuals who may have speech/language impairments:

  • Don’t assume that because a person has one disability, they also have another. For example, if a individual has difficulty speaking, it doesn’t mean they have an intellectual or developmental disability as well.
  • Ask an individual to repeat the information if you don’t understand.
  • Ask questions that can be answered “yes” or “no” if possible.
  • Try to allow enough time to communicate with an individual as they may speak more slowly.
  • Don’t interrupt or finish an individual’s sentences. Wait for them to finish.