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Step by Step: The Foundations of Intelligible Speech

Cost: $40.00 ($35.00 each for orders of five or more copies)

This book is designed for teachers, speech pathologists, and others working with profoundly deaf children. The book's aim is to provide clinicians with a "step by step" approach to teaching speech to deaf children. "Step by Step" is based on over 15 years experience working with profoundly deaf children fitted with hearing aids, tactile aids, and cochlear implants. It provides clinicians with a systematic program which moves from the early introduction of the “point vowels” in nonsense syllables, to the use of vowel, diphthong, and consonant targets in meaningful words, phrases, and short sentences. The program introduces five long vowels, six short vowels, four diphthongs, and fourteen consonants. The acquisition of this subset of English phonemes should lay an effective foundation for intelligible speech.

I have been using the Step by Step program for a year and a half with my students at the New York School for the Deaf. Both sophisticated ASL signers and students at the earlier stages of communication development have been able to progress with this program. Students from the age of 9 to 20 have been using it with equal interest. I am most surprised at the progress made by students with very profound losses who seemed to have more limited speech potential. If the motivation is there, this program allows for improvement to be made without daily speech classes. In fact students can acquire and generalize the sounds most necessary for improved intelligibility in twice weekly sessions.

Students who are fluent signers willingly work on nonsense syllable drills, knowing they are not learning how to communicate but are learning another way to communicate. Thus, this program allows for complete respect and acceptance of ASL while developing oral language. More in depth communication as well as education can occur in sign while the student develops intelligible speech. This goes a long way to maintaining interest and motivation in the lengthy process of deaf children acquiring speech skills.

While the vowel portions reflect the author’s use of Australian dialect, it is not difficult for anyone with knowledge of his/her own dialect to make the necessary adjustments. The program is extremely user friendly with notes regarding the theoretical foundations of the program conveniently written alongside each of the steps.

Patricia O'Rourke, Speech Pathologist, New York School for the Deaf

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