On March 24, 2013 we commented that “stammering” is a “speech disorder in which the flow of speech is disrupted by involuntary repetitions and prolongations of sounds, syllables, words or phrases as well as involuntary silent pauses or blocks in which the person who stutters is unable to produce sounds.”
But is it a disability as understood under the Americans With Disabilities Act, and amendments? Two readers have good comments.
Kailee Goold, an employment layer in Columbus, Ohio:
“In most cases, stuttering will be a disability. A disability is an impairment that significantly impacts a major life activity. The ADA includes “speaking” and “communication” as a major life activities. So, if the stutter significantly affects one’s ability to communicate, it will be a disability.
I recently gave a presentation on the broadening scope of “disability” under the ADA Amendments and what it means for companies — i.e., more focus on the interactive process. To see the slides and my interactive process flowchart, visit my microsite: http://ow.ly/uXlog.”
Geoffrey Mort, a NYC employment lawyer:
“I don’t know of any cases on this issue, but agree that stuttering — as it does substantially limit the major life activity of speech — is in many cases a disability, particularly in view of the ADA Amendments’ more liberal view of “substantially limits.”
With a substantial number of jobs, stuttering would not be an impediment to carrying out the position’s responsibilities. But, if a job requires, say, making verbal presentations to clients, it’s difficult to imagine what reasonable accommodation would allow one to effectively do that.”