Speech Disabilities


Speech disabilities are a wide category, and include producing speech recognizable by others or by voice recognition software 1. This can interfere with the use of voice-based services such as automated web-based hotlines or voice command systems 1.


Some examples include 1:

  • Apraxia of speech
  • Cluttering (also called “tachyphemia”)
  • Dysarthria
  • Speech sound disorders
  • Stuttering
  • Being non-vocal
  • Deafblindness

Speech disabilities may be caused by a number of underlying issues including genetic disabilities, learning disabilities, auditory disabilitiesAutism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), traumatic brain injuries, stroke, and cancer 2. Speech disabilities can occur at any age.

Communication Options

In many cases, people with speech disabilities need to have options for communication that are not wholly reliant on voice, such as text-based chat for support, or keyboard commands for an application 1.

People with speech disabilities may also use email or feedback forms to communicate 1.

People with speech disabilities may use Augmentative and Alternative Communication, or AAC.

Design Considerations


  • Build web-based services that do not rely on voice as the only interaction method 2.
  • Provide methods beyond the telephone to communicate to the organizations 1.

Additional Resources


  1. Diverse Abilities and Barriers by the WAI[][][][][][]
  2. Accessibility Fundamentals – Disabilities, Guidelines, and Laws at Deque University[][]