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Introduction This special issue of the American Annals of the Deaf focuses on the use and learning of spoken language systems by severely and profoundly hearing-impaired individuals. AU of these papers are previously unpublished, original work of the faculty in the Communication Program at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTTID). Within this issue various components of spoken language systems are included— ranging from reception of the speech signal through audition and through speechreading, and reception of the printed signal through reading, to expression through speech and through writing. The focus on these components in this special issue is not undertaken without realization of the value of sign language and simultaneous communication. We view this issue as a complement to the special issue of the American Annals of the Deaf, November 1978, that dealt with research and instruction of manualisimultaneous communication. When development, remediation, and refinement of the communication skills of deaf individuals are considered, we must first describe and define the behavior in question. Without such knowledge instructional programs cannot be based upon reality, and furthermore their efficacy is difficult to determine. At NTID, communication instruction and communication course program planning is based upon a comprehensive individualized assessment of communication behaviors. The communication instruction we then offer to our students is periodically evaluated in order to insure that students' needs are being meaningfully addressed. And in support of both assessment and instruction, we maintain a program of communication research. The organization of the articles that appear in this special issue reflects the above approach. The first eight articles deal with description of communication behaviors. The report by Donald J. Johnson and Nancy J. Kadunc is first, because many of the assessment tools referred to in the following articles are highlighted here. Following the articles on description of communication behaviors are three reports that describe a small sample of the instruction in communication offered to students at NTID. The last five papersin this issue focus on the impact and efficacy of some aspects of the communication instruction program at NTID. We trust that readers of this special issue will find this collection of articles useful in their own work with severely and profoundly hearingimpaired individuals. We hope that the information presented here can be used as a basis for further investigations in these areas by others in our fields. Kathleen Eilers Crandall Nicholas A. Orlando Guest Editors 336 A.A.O. I May 1980 ...


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