Speech and language-therapy services to benefit from £4m funding boost
Funding will will benefit thousands of people who have difficulty expressing themselves through speech.
Health boards will be given £4m to provide equipment such as the speech-generating device used by Professor Stephen Hawking.
The Scottish Government said the funding will benefit thousands of people who have difficulty expressing themselves through speech.
NHS boards can use the money over the next three years to provide augmentative and alternative communication equipment ranging from high-tech computers to more low-tech picture communication books.
Professor Hawking, who has a motor neurone disease, communicates through a device similar to those which the new money could provide.
Public Health Minister Michael Matheson announced the funding as part of new guidance called Right to Speak.
"The kinds of equipment and speech and language-therapy support services it will buy are vital for thousands of people in Scotland," he said.
Kim Hartley, Scotland officer at the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, said: "This clear direction and money together has the potential to be life changing for the 2500 people in Scotland who need quality ACC services to speak with their loved ones, to learn, to get in to work and to generally enjoy life.
"Problems with speech and language can imprison an individual and severely limit their quality of life. We applaud the Scottish Government for literally putting their money where their mouth is by leading the way in recognising every individual's right to communicate."