It has been evident this afternoon what a close interrelationship there is between the 3 subjects on our program; as an example, we heard Dr. Hardy state that hearing was the most important sense for intellectual development. Miss Spaulding also made the same statement concerning vision, whereas I believe it is safe to say that Dr. Bloomer feels that speech is absolutely essential for a child's normal development. Dr. Hardy in his paper stressed the wisdom of apprehending hearing loss early. Such investigation should always be made when communicative disorders are suspect. He explained the special technics at hand to make early diagnosis possible. Early diagnosis, he explained, makes early rehabilitation much easier to plan and it allows for individual planning for the patient according to his actual hearing loss.
Dr. Pauls showed that with modern technics the hearing handicapped child has a much brighter future than 15 years ago. She explained the significance of the value of the various hearing levels obtainable by modern diagnostic technics. She spoke convincingly for early amplification, where it can be used for the hard-of-hearing child, and she stated that emphasis should be on "hearing" and not on "deafness." Her plea, throughout her paper, reiterates again and again that the best course of rehabilitation should always stress the maintenance of a normal environment whenever possible.
Both Dr. Pauls and Dr. Bloomer emphasized that speech development is best fostered by a maternal bath of sound. Dr. Bloomer, in his presentation, stated that the preventability of speech problems is more important than curing speech difficulties. Seventy-five per cent of such problems could be handled successfully by coordinating medical care, emotional growth and satisfactory parent-child relationship. Twenty-five per cent of speech problems, although resulting from actual physical damage, would be helped if the climactic effect of such damage could be minimized by proper handling of the children.
Dr. Ruedemann spoke on the relations of strabismus in learning. He felt that there should be as much emphasis on its correction for the functional value of the vision as well as for any cosmetic effect. Foveal vision, he stated, has a special application to learning. Lack of such coordination in the eyes affects concentration and also affects visual memory. He showed how the muscles put the fovea in the correct relation for eye correlation. He also stressed early diagnosis and early corrective work, and he spoke of the importance of visual capacity instead of vision per se.
Miss Spaulding presented an excellent summary of her research in which she showed the rate of instance of muscle imbalance in children, and how that imbalance seems to increase from lower to higher age groups. A greater proportion of abnormals seems to always be found in the older groups of children. This is especially true of strabismus. She feels that the superiority of some of the abnormals over the controls make it evident that muscle error is not necessarily associated with less than average learning ability. Like Dr. Pauls and Dr. Bloomer, she feels that a positive approach should be emphasized, and that the child should be shown what he can do rather than what he can't.
- Copyright © 1953 by the American Academy of Pediatrics