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Speech Disorders

The term speech disorder refers to a number of conditions including articulation disorders, phonological disorders, apraxia of speech, fluency disorders, and voice disorders. Stuttering, or stammering, is the most common example of speech disorder, in which the flow of speech is interrupted by stops and repetitions or prolonging sounds and syllables. Many disorders can be treated by speech therapists, which can help identify specific problems in students’ verbal skills and teach them ways to compensate.

Functional Limitations

  • Projection difficulties
  • Chronic hoarseness and esophageal speech
  • Fluency problems, as in stuttering and stammering
  • Articulation of particular words or terms
  • Anxiety and fear of speaking in public
  • Self-confidence difficulties
  • Accommodations

  • Electronic “speaking” machines or computerized voice synthesizer
  • Course modifications, such as one-to-one presentations or written papers instead of verbal presentations
  • Extended time on verbal presentations
  • Teaching Strategies

  • Give students the opportunity, but do not compel them, to speak in class
  • Permit students the time they require to express themselves without unsolicited aid in filling in gaps in their speech
  • Give enough time to students who speak slowly in class to express her thoughts
  • Do not interrupt or complete a sentence for a student
  • Ask the student to repeat what is said, if necessary (such a request is appropriate)
  • Summarize what the student said to help him or her to check for accuracy of understanding
  • Listen carefully to the student. Repeat what you think you understand and then ask the student to clarify or repeat the portion that you did not understand
  • Our Sources and Additional Resources:

  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association:
  • National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities: