A developmental program for training preschool children with deficits in the area of immediate auditory recall



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Articulation problems which no structural, emotional, or intellectual basis is evident, have recently caused speech pathologists to evaluate the functional adequacy of specific cognitive processes in children with these problems. Five years ago, in her position as a teacher-clinician at the Houston Speech and Hearing Center, the writer accepted the assignment of a class of five pre-school children articulatory deficiencies who had not responded to traditional articulation therapy methods. When the Houston Speech and Hearing Center"s psychometric language test battery was administered, it was found that, basically, these children had a single and common disability in a function thought to be related normal speech and language development. They were unable to manage auditory information for the purpose of what is defined in this thesis as immediate auditory recall. All other functions tested, except speech articulation, were within normal limits for the child"s age. The purpose of this thesis was (1) to describe the five children and the training program directed toward the improvement of immediate auditory recall functioning, and report test re-test scores to show the improvement of auditory memory and speech articulation that followed and (2) on the basis of the achievement of these children and subsequent teaching experience with pre-school children with similar problems, to outline a proposed remedial program for three, four and five year olds with articulation and auditory recall deficiencies. The small scale exploratory teaching program was continued for eight months, with the five children in class for one hour a day, five days a week. The parents were given suggested activities that could be used at home to stimulate improved auditory memory. Typical classroom and home-training activities are listed in the thesis. For each child, test re-test scores to show changes in memory span and articulatory functioning following the described exploratory teaching program, are given. Although this was not an experimental study and it cannot be determined what gains in auditory recall and articulation might have resulted from another basic method or even through natural maturational processes, the writer concludes that the pre-therapy-post-therapy test results show that these five children made positive gains in auditory recall ability and remarkably improved articulatory functioning which they had not accomplished before the training was directed to stimulating auditory memory and recall. The specific test re-test scores indicate that (1) the five children improved their age scores in the ability of immediate auditory recall beyond an eight month gain and (2) although speech articulation was not specifically stressed in the teaching program, the articulation errors of the five children were considerably fewer after the eight months of class. On the basis of the achievement of these children and continued successful teaching of three, four, and five year olds who have deficits in the development of articulation and immediate auditory recall abilities, a proposed remedial program for this age group was evolved and outlined for presentation in this thesis. This program follows a developmental order centering on activities that require management of auditory information in temporal and pattern sequence, with the intended goal of improving the child"s auditory recall ability and speech articulation.