Speech Impairment refers to the slow development of one’s articulation or comprehension, or the dysfunction of one’s vocal cords, which cause significant deviation and difficulties in communication, resulting in notable difficulties and limitations in one’s daily life.


Features of Speech Impairment

Speech impairment mainly involves difficulties in uttering and pronunciation, voice abnormality (such as too loud or too small, abnormal tone, etc.), speech abnormality (such as involuntary repetition, prolongation or interruption), difficulties in comprehension, etc. The most severe ones even could be unable to speak.

Most speech impairments can be improved through electronic aids. Some students with speech impairment can even improve their conditions through speech therapies. On the contrary, stress, anxiety, low self-esteem and other emotions or thoughts would make the speech impairment become more severe.


Students with speech impairment may encounter difficulties such as:

  • Due to the difficulties in expression or comprehension, students with speech impairment cannot engage in dialogues and communications with others at their own will, thus affecting their social relationship, making them feel isolated or misunderstood;
  • Speaking alone has been very difficult for them, not to mention speaking or expressing their views in public, which makes them more likely to feel inferior, nervous, cowered and at loss;
  • Since they cannot fully understand and clarify certain concepts through speech, they may encounter more difficulties than ordinary people in abstract thinking, logical reasoning and criticizing.


How to Help Students with Speech Impairment

Tips for teachers:

  • Teachers should understand the special needs for the students with speech impairment in their communication, reading and writing, as well as other aspects;
  • Teachers should meet their needs in considering extending the time of examination or deadline for submitting homework;
  • If they can speak, please give them a chance to speak, but do not force them to speak because making them the focus of the class when they are forced to speak will often cause negative effects;
  • Public speaking will make them feel stressed; please try to reduce evaluation methods such as oral reports and speeches.


Tips for students:

  • Please encourage the speech-impaired students with speech ability to speak, and show enough patience to allow them to complete their sentence slowly, instead of uttering what you think they are about to say for them for the sake of saving time;
  • Unless upon their special request, please talk to them in a normal volume and tone  and do not presume that they cannot understand you, nor do you need to imitate the way they speak;
  • When they are speaking, please return them with eye contacts, facial expressions or gestures which will make them feel comfortable;
  • When they fail to articulate clearly during the dialogue, please be honest with them and politely ask them to repeat;
  • If they cannot understand you during the dialogue, you may try to express in different words;
  • Please be empathetic and try to experience their daily lives, their thoughts and feelings.