A CONTEMPORARY VIEW ON INITIAL UNIVERSITY PREPARATION OF SPEECH LANGUAGE THERAPISTS IN THE PERSPECTIVE OF INCLUSIVE ENVIRONMENT AND SYMPTOMATIC SPEECH DISORDERS
Symptomatic speech disorders (SSD) represent a very broad and not very strictly defined group of communication disabilities which are primarily or secondarily associated with a specific type of disability, illness or pathological condition in terms of symptomatic and etiological continuity. Despite the extensiveness of these problems penetrating across many relatively independent and unique diagnoses that fall into a diverse set of disciplines and specializations, we can see one common connecting line. This line is represented by the specifics or variations in communication whose character can be defined through certain common symptomatic categories or markers, although we can argue or at best constructively debate about such "averaged" view as being always somewhat generally conceived and perhaps inevitably simplified. In the area of diagnosis and intervention within the inclusive approach, the role of speech and language therapists (SLTs; logopaedists) is extremely important on one hand but also very responsible on the other hand. They must be prepared for this role, preferably within the undergraduate education framework that includes not only knowledge and practical skills in the field of communication disorders and deviations (from the areas of special pedagogical, psychological, linguistic, medical and other disciplines) but also awareness of their place in interdisciplinary teams and the need to constantly promote the importance of their involvement in the diagnostic and intervention process within SSD.
For this reason, the author would like to emphasize the importance of holistic approach in the speech and language therapy (SLT) in this paper, with special emphasis on (and in response to) the EU’s current trends related to the implementation of strategies and principles of inclusive education and the changes in the clinical environment in the context of SSD. The basis of the author’s view, inter alia, is an executed theoretical content analysis of the available published articles and documents as well as the observations or interviews focusing on the issue of inclusion in relation to special education needs in EU countries performed during inspection trips and work meetings across the EU (e.g. within the participation in the project Teacher Education for Inclusion held in cooperation with the European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education, or NETQUES NetQuest – Network for Tuning Standards & Quality of Educational Programs for Speech-Language Therapy in Europe – Project No. 177075-LLP-12010-1FR-Erasmus-ENWA within the LLP Erasmus program), in USA, Spain, and an analysis of the available reports published by CPLOL and other organizations. The partial content is the presentation of results obtained within the framework of the investigative research carried out at the Institute of Special Education Studies, Faculty of Education, Palacký University in Olomouc, as a partial investigation of grant specific research (IGA) called Communication deficits in selected forms of impaired communication skills with a focus on assessing the partial determinants of verbal and non-verbal components of communication in special education practice (PdF UP, PdF_2012_021, 2013/2014, researcher: Kateřina Vitásková). Emphasis is placed on the need to link undergraduate university curriculum of logopaedic expertise with special needs and inclusive education knowledge and the knowledge of related disciplines and professions covering SSD.