Speech impairment may call for some minor classroom adaptations in situations relying on class discussions, question sessions, or student presentations.  What follows are some general guidelines to use for situations involving speech impaired students.

  1. Impaired speech may be slower than unimpaired speech.  It is important that speech impaired students have an equal opportunity to voice their reactions or questions even if it means allotting extra time.

  2. It is also important to overcome the urge to interpret or try to complete an impaired student's train of thought.  Trying to anticipate the question being asked can be embarrassing and/or frustrating if the completion of the sentence was not the question or point which the student was trying to make.

  3. There may be situations where the words or phrases the person is using are not understood.  Panic only gets in the way of concentrating on what the student is trying to relay.  Don't be hesitant to ask for repetition of words or phrases; students with speech impairments would much rather repeat a message in order to communicate than to have someone ignore or pretend to understand what they are saying.  At times it is helpful to summarize the message and check with the student for accuracy.  Don't be embarrassed if, as a last measure, you need the student to write the phrase for you.

  4. With increased exposure to people whose speech is impaired, ability to understand their speech will improve.

If you have any questions about any of the information presented above, call the Student Accessibility Center at 229-6287, stop by Mitchell Hall Room 112, or e-mail Victoria Groser at

close this window to return to html version