Speech Impediments – Did you know?
Monthly abilities Speech Impediments. Feel free to print the PDF (Portable Document Format) version and post it somewhere that your staff can read.
Persons with Speech Impairments
- An adult speech impairment is any symptom that causes a person to have difficulty with vocal communication.
- It can include problems such as slurred, slowed, hoarse, stuttered or rapid speech.
- Other symptoms could include stiff facial muscles, drooling, poor accessibility of words and sudden contraction of vocal muscles.
- Speech disorders include:
- Spasmodic dysphonia: involuntary movements of the vocal cords when speaking. Voice may be hoarse, airy, and tight.
- Aphasia: inability to express and comprehend language. Individuals with aphasia may find it difficult to think of words. They may also mispronounce words.
- Dysarthria: weak vocal muscles, which cause slurred and slow speech. The larynx (voice box) and vocal cords have difficulty coordinating to make a fluent sound.
- Vocal Disturbances: any factor that changes the function or shape of your vocal cords can cause changes in the sound and ease of speech.
- Speech impairment can occur suddenly or it can gradually progress.
- They be caused from a stroke, cerebral palsy, ALS, facial trauma, brain tumors, Parkinson’s or Huntington’s disease, stuttering, and others.
- Impaired speech often gives the impression of lower intelligence. There is no correlation of this whatsoever.
What helps me in the workplace?
- Do not treat me in a patronizing manner – it will only result in your own discomfort.
- Do not complete my sentences. I have the same need to be heard and understood as everyone else.
- If you didn’t get it, ask me to repeat what I have said.
- Never just say, “Uh huh. OK. I see,” if you don’t understand what I just said. Show me that you value what I have to say.
- Repeat back what you did understand if you need to confirm it. That relieve a lot of stress for me as now I know you understand what I was communicating to you.
- Allow me time to express myself on my own terms. Second guessing what I am trying to express only creates stress.
- Ask questions that can be answered “yes” or “no” if possible.
One thing I want people to know:
“I may sound somewhat different and yes it’s going to take a bit of time to get out what I want to say, but I’m still an intelligent human being and want to communicate with you.” Anonymous