5. New School Phonology: Practice Deadend!

For 100 years traditional articulation therapy has prevailed.  

Window looking out.


In the 1970s a burst of research and practice explorations associated with the work of Professor David Ingram demonstrated theory superiority of the phonology model over medical phonetic model.  Phonology proved to be tied to higher level cognitive-linguistic processing and learning, and generalization was central to the arguments for using phonology in schools.   The phonetic was a part of phonology at the same time.  Hence, the scope of phonology theory included sound production theory. 

Yet classical articulation therapy continues to dominate university clinical training and school practice.  It is widely proposed on websites across the internet as standard practice.  One finds expositions for parents saying articulation therapy is best practice for their children.  It is the  dominant view in English-speaking countries as well as America.   In schools, the phonology model has been all but abandoned, partly because it us thought to be too complicated and impractical.  It is also deeply embedded in school culture,  defining the professional role of the speech-language pathologist.


School SLPs have lost the advantages of a phonology model:

1. Integrates language, auditory processing, phonological process recognition, reading, morphology, apraxia of speech, phonological process analysis, oral-motor performance and sound production into one practical system. 

2. Integrates discrete scope of practice categories into a single management system centered around principles of cognitive-linguistic therapy.

3. Provides a principled foundation for collaborative intervention.

4. Allows for the observation of generalization across discrete clinical domains.

5. Consistent with a hybrid model of school speech-language pathology where clinical and educational concepts merge.

6. Represents a more powerful learning framework than articulation therapy.

7. Accommodates description of sound variation stemming from linguistic and cultural differences.

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