Speech Disabilities

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


  • Apraxia of speech
  • Cluttering (also called “tachyphemia”)
  • Dysarthria
  • Speech sound disorder
  • Stuttering
  • Muteness
  • 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. Speech disabilities can occur at any age.

Communication Options

People with speech disabilities may use Augmentative and Alternative Communication, or AAC. Unaided AAC relies on nonverbal communication such as body language, facial expressions, gestures, and sign language. Aided AAC rely on Assistive Technology (AT) such as books and boards, pen and paper, or speech boards that produce computer-generated voices.

Design Considerations

When we design for speech disabilities, we provide:

  • Web-based services that do not rely on voice as the only interaction method
  • Methods beyond the telephone to communicate to the organizations

Own Voices

What people with speech disabilities have to say about them.

Rachel Monk discusses what it’s like to use AAC.