Recognition and Prevention of Speech Disorders
Definition . Many definitions have been used in the attempt to differentiate normal from abnormal speech, but none of them is completely successful for the very good reason that no clear-cut distinction can exist. Perhaps the best definition is as follows: Speech is defective when it deviates so far from the speech of other people in the group that it calls attention to itself, interferes with communication, or causes its possessor to be maladjusted to his environment. All speech deviations are not, of course, speech defects. There are thousands of ways in which the sound of s may be produced, and not only do so-called normal speakers differ from each other in their speech sounds, but they are not consistent in their own speech. The speech difference has to be so conspicuous that other people notice it. Communication may be accomplished, but only despite the difference. In the fact that speech differences cause their possessors to be maladjusted lies the theme of our next chapter, which sketches the contribution of speech peculiarity to the warping of personality. The definition in itself is clear evidence of the seriousness of a speech handicap--a seriousness which few parents or teachers have appreciated.
Several terms have been used to label these speech differences. Certain authorities intensely dislike the term "speech defective," even though they consent to use the