People with speech disabilities encounter barriers with voice-based services, such as automated web-based hotlines and web applications that are operated using voice commands. To use services that rely on voice, people with speech disabilities need alternative modes of interaction such as a text-based chat to interact with hotline representatives and keyboard commands to operate web applications. Also, websites that provide telephone numbers as the only means of communicating with an organization pose barriers for people with speech disabilities. Alternative means of communication include e-mail and feedback forms.
Examples of speech disabilities
- Apraxia of speech (AOS) – includes inconsistent articulation and production of speech sounds, and errors producing sounds in the correct order so that spoken words or phrases become difficult to understand.
- Cluttering (also called “tachyphemia”) – includes increased speaking rate, incorrect rhythm, intonation, and co-articulation of sounds, and other influent speech that is sometimes similar to stuttering.
- Dysarthria – involves weakness or complete paralysis of muscles that are necessary to produce speech, including lips, lungs, throat, tongue, and others.
- Speech sound disorder – involves difficulty or inability to produce certain sounds or patterns of sound and sometimes results in addition, distortion, omission, or substitution of such sounds with others.
- Stuttering – includes influent speech, repetition of individual sounds or entire words and phrases, and misplacement or prolongation of pauses and sounds while speaking that is different from cluttering.
- Muteness (also called “mutism”) – involves the inability to speak due to various reasons such as anxiety, brain injuries, or inability to hear and learn speech.
Examples of barriers for people with speech disabilities
- Web-based services, including web applications, that rely on interaction using voice only.
- Websites that offer phone numbers as the only way to communicate with the organizations.