How should I communicate with someone who has a speech impairment?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Patience is the key to communicating with anyone, adult or child, who has a speech impairment. Always let a person finish their sentences. Not only is it rude to cut someone off, but it is discouraging as well. Be honest if you don't understand, but also be polite in your honesty. If they have particular difficulty communicating, you can ask questions that require a gesture, such as a nod, or a short answer rather than long ones that may be difficult to articulate. If all else fails, pen and paper may be helpful. Some people with speech impairments opt for American Sign Language or other alternative means of communication. Remember above all that your friend, coworker, or family member may already feel frustrated and ashamed as they try to communicate and reflect that understanding in your behavior.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.