Speech and Language (unapproved)

We have split the list into different areas in order to make it easier to find the conversation you want to take part in.

Support needs list for speech and language

The needs on this page come from initial research and a fully approved and expanded version will form part of the second standardised list. We welcome additions to and comments on these needs from those whose lived experience means they have needs relating to speech and language. This list does not include, at this point, those needs covered elsewhere.

Writing to me

  • I cannot read letters or post

Phone calls

No current options

Meeting me

  • I use a word or picture board to communicate
  • I need support with language translation

Interacting with Me  

  • I may sometimes appear not to have heard you, and may sometimes be silent for several seconds before responding. Do not assume I will not respond but be silent unless I give you a cue to continue speaking.
  • My speech may be affected (including involuntary words or sounds, some of which may commonly be thought offensive). This is not part of communication. Please ignore this and do not draw attention
  • I do not speak English as a first language
  • I need face-to-face communication (this would also be a need for lip reading)
  • I stammer – please give me more time try not to finish my sentences for me.
  • My movement may be affected (including repetitive or noticeable body movements) Where possible, ask me questions that have a yes or no answer.
  • Do not make small talk with me such as asking me how I am.
  • In digital meetings, I will have my camera switched off
  • In digital meetings, I will communicate through chat

Get Involved

If there are support needs you would like to suggest, you can email us on info@whatweneed.support or leave a comment for discussion on this page.

We view all comments before they are published to sure they meet the project’s code of conduct, which you can view here. We welcome open discussion, but it is important that for safety and data protection reasons we moderate comments that may contain sensitive personal information. We are also aware that many people are, with very good reason, angry about past and present experiences. This project is aimed at improving experiences, but to do that it is important to maintain dialogue in a respectful way. We also recognise that power does not rest equally between all stakeholders in this project, and do not wish those who might be perceived as having more power to be seen as intimidating those who have less.

What kind of support need are we looking for you to suggest?

  • specific – specific enough that if someone is told, they will know what action to take
  • include any additional information that might be helpful – such as assistive technology that you know/use, or particular ways that organizations have met that need that have really worked

One thought on “Speech and Language (unapproved)”

  1. – Would it be possible to label this section as ‘communication’ rather than ‘speech and language’? This seems more in line with the other labels you have used and represents a wider group of people (e.g. individuals who use forms of communication such as sign language, gesture and text-to-speech devices).
    – Strategies to support people to access automated telephone services can be found here: https://www.rcslt.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Automated-telephone-services-statement.pdf (position statement from the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists in August 2022 following input from people with lived experience and speech and language therapists)
    – For phone calls, additional points might be: “Be aware that it might take me longer to begin my responses and there may be silences during the call.” / “I find telephone calls difficult – please communicate with me via email / text instead”.
    – I’d like to request consistency in the messaging if possible. Most of the suggestions are framed as directives but some (e.g. “I stammer – please give me more time try not to finish my sentences for me.”) are framed as polite requests. The ‘try to’ wording infers that it’s not too much of an issue if the person doesn’t do this but if it is a support strategy that the person has requested, I think it’s a very reasonable request and should be met.
    – In addition to points about language translation / English as a first language, it will be important to note what language(s) the person is able to communicate with so appropriate interpretation support can be arranged. (This is for both verbal and written communication – be aware that proficiency across modalities will vary).
    – Additional suggestions: “In digital meetings, I will have my camera switched on” / “In digital meetings, please switch your camera on – I find it helpful to see who I am speaking to.” / “I use a text-to-speech device” / “Please focus on what I am saying, rather than how I am saying it.” / “If you do not understand what I have said, please ask me to repeat it rather than pretending to understand, or guessing”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s