Students with a speech disability
- Teaching strategies for students with a speech disability
- Alternative assessment strategies for students with a speech disability
The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that about 2% of Australians have a speech disability. These include difficulties in pronunciation of sounds, in projection and fluency problems. Speech disabilities may range from problems with articulation or voice strength to complete voicelessness, chronic hoarseness, stuttering or stammering.
Speech difficulties can also be associated with cerebral palsy, hearing disability and brain injury. People with speech disabilities may be difficult to understand and have difficulty expressing ideas. These problems may be aggravated by anxiety when trying to communicate in a group. Some people may use a speech synthesiser connected to a small computer to voice for them.
Teaching strategies for students with a speech disability
Small groups/large groups
- Address students naturally-don't assume that they cannot hear or comprehend.
- Allow students time to express themselves, without interrupting or trying to finish their sentences.
- Ask the student to repeat a statement if you don't understand it.
- Demonstrate appropriate communication methods by encouraging students to speak clearly and one at a time.
- Provide opportunities for - but do not compel - the student to speak in a group situation.
- The student may use an interpreter.
Patience is the most effective strategy in teaching students with speech disabilities.
Alternative assessment strategies for students with a speech disability
Students with speech disabilities may have other disabilities that also need to be taken into account such as deafness or hearing disability, learning disabilities, mobility disabilities.
Consultation with the student and perhaps also the Disability Services Officer will be essential to ensure assessment strategies are effective.
- Discuss the requirements of the course early with the student to identify problems and solutions regarding assessments.
- Oral presentations may be replaced with written assignments.
- Participation in tutorials may be difficult. If this is being assessed it will need to be discussed and an alternative assessment may be necessary.
- Students may use an auxiliary aid such as a speech synthesiser or interpreter for participation.
- Another student or interpreter may present the paper for an oral presentation.
- One-to-one discussion may be possible.
- Written examinations may need to replace oral examinations.