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Teaching speech therapy: one at a time

- By Wits University

Collaboration between more than six of the country’s universities and learning institutions offering Speech-Language Pathology programmes has led to the publication of a new text book for use by students and professionals in the field.

The book, edited by Dr Sharon Moonsamy, Senior Lecturer and Clinical Supervisor in Speech Pathology and Audiology in the Wits School of Human and Community Development; and Harsha Kathard, Associate Professor in the Division of Communications Sciences and Disorders at the University of Cape Town, includes contributed chapters to the first-of-its-kind textbook titled Speech Language Therapy in a School Context: Principles and Practices.

Academics from Wits, the University of Cape Town, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the University of Pretoria, the University of Stellenbosch, the University of Limpopo, the Bellavista School, UNISA, as well as colleagues from the disciplines of social work, occupational therapy, psychology, audiology and education have contributed to this book, sharing their knowledge and expertise. Furthermore, the collective effort among the above universities and professions of cognate fields consolidates the premise that a systems model and a collaborative focus are fundamental in the management of the learner in the school-context.

The result is a unique, first to be published work that is fit for use by students and professionals working with diverse individuals with language, speech, voice or swallowing disorders.

Moonsamy says that the book is a first text in South Africa which guides student practitioners in a school-context to develop relevant context-responsive practices.  “It responds to the large scale challenge to develop communication – listening, speaking, reading and writing – for socialising and learning.  It promotes effective communication as a key aspect of inclusive education. It approaches communication and learning as systemic challenges and therefore resists the deficit approach which works towards “fixing” or “treating” children,” she says.

Moonsamy, with many years’ experience of working with students and patients, says the book is a unique transformational resource for both students and health care professionals, across a number of disciplines, who work in schools.

The book, which was reviewed by independent peer reviewers and students, was launched in March 2015 and is published by Van Schaik Publishers.