Speech as a digital tool

The Swedish Stuttering Association has chosen to cooperate with Funka in a new research project to investigate speech-controlled communication services and make them more accessible for people who stutter, persons with slurred speech and other speech disorders. The project is founded by the Swedish Inheritance Fund.

The number of services that use speech as a digital tool increases every day. Everything from answering machines to home electronics can be controlled by speech. This technology is beneficial for many, however, if the speech is the only way of controlling devices and services, it can create problems for people who stutter and people with speech impairments. Not being able to reach important public services, or use devices and applications leads not only to lack of inclusion, participation, and equality in society, but it’s also against the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.

Not being able to use speech-controlled services and technology is discouraging and can lead to exclusion. Increased awareness and simple technical solutions can easily remove these obstacles and contribute to inclusion, says Anita Blom, creator of the project-idea.

By researching and reviewing speech-controlled communication services, mapping what kind of difficulties the target group experiences, and by developing solutions, Funka and the Swedish Stuttering Association will together focus public and private sector’s attention on the importance of offering the alternatives for people who for different reasons have difficulties using their speech.

At the beginning of the project, we will launch a survey to get in touch with authorities, organisations and companies that use, purchase, or develop communication services and products that require speech.

This is a very important project that our agency definitely supports!, says Hans von Axelson from the Swedish Agency for Participation.

The project focuses on stuttering, but the results will also be relevant for other target groups, such as people with slurred speech, dysarthria, laryngectomized, hard of hearing, with hearing impairments, people with a prominent dialect, or another mother tongue.

We look forward to contributing to increased accessibility for large group of users, says Ewa Björk, project manager at Funka.


Funding: The Swedish Inheritance Fund
Period: September 2021 – August 2024
Consortium: The Swedish Stuttering Association (project owner) and Funka
Budget: 320 000 EUR

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Project update

  • Webinar: Speech as a digital tool

    Speech-controlled services and devices – how do they work for people who stutter? On October 22nd, 2021, we celebrated The International Stuttering Awareness Day by organising an online event on digital accessibility for people with speech impairments.