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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 38

To Learn to Speak

To Learn to Speak.

Mutes will learn to speak by holding the Audiphone against the teeth, as above directed, and practice speaking while it is in this position.

A good exercise is for the mute, at first, to put one hand on the instructor's throat, watch the motion of his lips, while his other hand is on his own throat, the instructor meantime holding the Audiphone to the mute's teeth. The mute will feel the influence of the sound on his hand in the instructor's throat, imitate it in his own throat, will hear the speaker's voice on the Audiphone and will be aided in imitating the speaker by seeing his lips, and will also hear his own voice on the Audiphone, and readily learn to speak.

It is remarkable how rapidly they learn to distinguish words by sound. In a very short time, they have learned to repeat whole sentences spoken to them while blindfolded. It is believed that every mute child may hear and learn to speak by using the Audiphone.

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It must be borne in mind, however, that a mute who has never heard has no conception of the meaning of the simplest words. Even though he be very intelligent and highly educated, read and write fluently, and interpret language readily by the motion of the speaker's lips, still he will not understand the most elementary sound until he is taught. He is familiar with visible, but knows nothing of articulate, language. At first, if you ask him to intimate whether or not he hears by means of the Audiphone, he may indicate that he feels a peculiar sensation that is new to him. It will not be long, however, until he realizes that what seemed to him feeling we call sound. Parents and teachers of mutes are, therefore, recommended to begin with the rudiments of language, as in teaching a child of two years.

Mutes enjoy music from the first. A piano or organ should be used daily in their early training, at first resting the handle of the Audiphone on the instrument. Start and stop the music at intervals, until they realize the difference. Then they may withdraw from the piano and gradually ac-custom themselves to the new sensation.

Faithful and patient practice, repeating over and over again the vowels and other simple sounds day after day, must be the ground-work of the mute's articulate education. To expect him to understand the first sounds that reach his brain is like asking the child in the A B C class to read Bacon or Shakspeare.