The purpose of this book is to acquaint readers with the latest investigations of the child's speech pathology carried out by the collaborators of the Speech Therapy Department of the Institute of Defectology in Moscow. The book presents foundations of the pedagogical approach to children with abnormal speech.
Deviations in speech attainment are regarded by the authors as developmental disturbances which occur according to laws of relationship between primary and secondary abnormalities. A great emphasis is laid on the system approach to the study and overcoming of speech defects. In the case of the speech pathology it means consideration of the verbal communication system as a whole, including phonetic, lexic and spelling disturbances. In many cases, when the defect is obvious in only one of the above-mentioned components, other ones are or have been affected either.
Great diversity of manifestations of what we call the general speech underdevelopment can be categorized to three following levels according to the seriousness of the defect: 1) lack of any comprehensible speech; 2) existence of only initial forms of comprehensible speech; and 3) comprehensible speech with some phonetical, lexical and grammatical underdevelopment. Children whose speech underdevelopment is proved to be of the 1st or the 2nd level cannot be taught to read and to write by usual methods. In this book we discuss our teaching technique applied to children with severe retardation in acquiring the phonematic structure of words.
In cases of speech underdevelopment of the 3rd level writing defects are usually more obvious than those of oral speech. But it is proved here that writing defect must not be treated as sort of insufficiency of vision. Our recomendations on the prevention of writing disorders are based on
the general statement that proper spelling is to be prepared by training on phonematic analysis.
Much space in the book is dedicated to stammering which is considered as a disturbance of the communicative function of speech. We have studied stammer in different conditions of verbal communication, and this has enabled us to elaborate a new pedagogical method of treating and preventing stammer.
Our correction technique is based on a step-by-step transition from situational to contextual speech. We start from the easiest situation when both objects and actions to be described by the child can be directly contemplated (accompanying speech). In this situation stammer can be easily avoided after several hours of training. Then the child is stimulated to speak about absent object and to describe his past actions. At the next stage the child discusses his intentions, plans, as well as his experience using more and more complex grammar and words whose meaning may be clear only from a verbal context. Such series of exercises clears ground for a well-planned and smooth speech.