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Prevention of Delays in Speech Development in Educational Institutions

Background and aims

Under the title "PSI – Prävention von Sprachentwicklungsverzögerungen in pädagogischen Institutions" (prevention of delays in speech development in educational institutions), the project seeks to achieve a meaningful combination of early diagnosis, prevention/ health promotion, treatment and evaluation.


The process consists of the following steps:

The first step is the clear definition of risks, risk groups and prevalence. This is carried out under consideration of the dynamics and variabilities in the (normal) development of the child. The wide range of the evaluation of, for example, speech abnormalities when starting school – estimated to be present in 5 – 40% of children – illustrates the difficulty of determining the prevalence.

Step two is the early recognition of the speech status.

The article 'Früherfassung als Arbeitsteilung' (logos 2009) highlights the collaboration between parent, pedagogic specialist and speech & language therapist, and provides an overview of the instruments used to assess levels of language proficiency. This research project will provide a framework for the development of the tools 'SpracherwerbsKompass' (Language Acquisition Compass) ( and the 'RedeflussKompass' (Oral Fluency Compass) (cf. the D.14 'Empirical Investigation of the Oral Fluency Compass' research project and

Step three is the definition of measures (project phase I), in which the different settings are taken into consideration:

  • Measures for the pedagogic-institutional network in which the child and the parents move
  • Measures for the development-endangered child
  • Measures for the affected family


As commissioned in the research project, audio information will be produced in 13 languages to be used as a practical tool for providing guidance to families with migration backgrounds. The language assistance film 'Sprache Kitzeln', which exemplifies language-stimulating behaviour, is currently in production.

The research project "PSI" seeks to promote a process of harmonisation in the area of education – speech development – speech promotion – speech therapy. This includes the important aspects of marking out competence limits and the allocation of competences in the sense of co-operative and integrative work, thus helping to eliminate uncertainties.

The expectations of cost-bearers towards prevention projects should be kept on a realistic level – overburdening of non-specialists (e.g. pre-school teachers, doctors, teachers, parents and other specialists) should be avoided.


A summary of the main points of the approved development projects and later practical procedure reads as follows:

  1. Risk evaluation (clarification of indications for the recording of speech status data)
  2. Establishment of speech status (clarification of indications for support and/or consultation)
  3. Promotion and consultation

An accompanying interactive contact and information centre will be set up. The means are the creation of the virtual forum that will serve the exchange and acquisition of information (risks, the fundamentals of prevention, possibilities of data acquisition and measures).

See the homepage:


1. Ascertaining the current situation with regard to the prevention of language acquisition disorders with particular focus given to: prevalence (data overview) and institutional anchoring of preventative measures in Germanspeaking Switzerland (questionnair
2. Construction and development of a virtual competence centre
3. Creation of practical tools for the observation of language / communication for use by non-speech and language therapy professional

  • Oral Fluency Compass: decision-making aid used by paediatricians to differentiate between development disfluency and the onset of stuttering (evaluation in a further research project by J. Kohler)
  • Language Acquisition Compass: early stage decision-making aid for professionals with regard to advice and clarification indicators when dealing with delays in language development
  • Language Loupe Observation Sheet for pre-school teaching staff (in collaboration with the PH TG)
  • Spoken Language Acquisition Compass (currently being developed; completion in Spring 2011)
  • Reading Competence Compass (currently being developed; completion in Spring 2011)
  • 4. Development of practical tools for use in counselling families from migration backgrounds

    • Audiofiles „What is Speech and Language Therapy" in 16 languages
    • Audiofiles „Information about Second Language Acquisition” in 16 languages

    5. Development of practical tools for use in counselling families with regard to language learning strategies: language assistance film ‚Sprache kitzeln'

The topic Prevention of Language Acquisition Disorders has been pursued as a book project containing multi-media data carriers (tools) by the publishers Ernst Reinhardt- Verlag München (submitted April 2010, published October 2011).


Forschung und Entwicklung
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