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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the branch of pedagogy that studies anomalies of speech development in the presence of normal hearing; investigates the manifestations, nature, and mechanisms of impairment of speech; and develops a scientific basis for treating and preventing speech defects by special training and education.

The issue of correcting speech defects was raised for the first time in works on teaching the deaf written in the 17th century (when deaf-mutism had not yet been distinguished from mutism and other speech defects). In the second half of the 19th century, the study of speech defects in the presence of normal hearing became an independent field, but largely the province of medicine. Speech correction became a therapeutic procedure to be carried out by physicians and nurses.

The one-sided view that speech is an aggregation of specialized muscular movements prevailed until the late 1930’s. Speech defects were generally considered from the standpoint of developing symptomatic methods of overcoming the motor difficulties of articulation. These matters, together with respiratory correction, constituted the main concern of logopedics.

The emphasis of logopedics changed radically as scientific concepts and theoretical research on the nature of speech developed; the pedagogical aspect became primary. Modern logopedics is based on the idea that the structure of speech is complex and varied in its functions and ways of influencing human mental development.

Speech defects differ in manifestations, nature, degree of prominence, and effect on mental health and growth. Some defects affect pronunciation (for example, tongue-tie); others are manifested not only by pronunciation defects but also by difficulties in reading and writing (dyslexia, dysgraphia); still others involve the lexical and grammatical aspects of speech (for example, alalia and aphasia). In addition to impairments of the means of speech, there are also deviations in the development of speech behavior (resulting stammering).

Logopedic research is concerned not only with pronunciation defects, but also with the level of lexical and grammatical development, with the mastery of the sounds that make up words, and with written communication. It also studies the receptor activity, cognitive processes, and emotional and volitional aspects of speech.

Speech defects are studied and overcome with the help of information from other branches of knowledge, such as psychology, linguistics, physiology, and medicine. Speech disorders are treated by pedagogical methods. Special training and corrective education are used when called for, according to medical recommendations.

The direct goal of logopedics is to solve the problems of speech pathology.The results of research on anomalies of speech development contribute to expanding the concepts of general psychology and speech education. In the USSR, logopedic assistance is offered in special and general public schools, preschool institutions, children’s polyclinics, and hospitals. Specialists in logopedics are trained in the speech pathology departments of pedagogical institutes. Research in logopedics is conducted at the Institute of Speech Pathology of the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of the USSR, at pedagogical institutes, and at some medical research institutions.


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Kashe, G. S., and T. B. Fomicheva. Didakticheskii material po ispravleniiu nedostatkov proiznosheniia u detei doshkol’nogo vozrasta. Moscow, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.