Introduction to Communication Sciences and Disorders: The Scientific Basis of Clinical Practice

First Edition

Gary Weismer, David K. Brown

Details: 388 pages, Full Color, Softcover, 8.5"x11"

ISBN13: 978-1-59756-297-3

© 2021 | Available

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Introduction to Communication Sciences and Disorders: The Scientific Basis of Clinical Practice is designed for undergraduate students who are taking a first course in the discipline of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD). The textbook presents students with the range of communication impairments in society, the consequences of those impairments for the persons who have them as well as for their family members, and the treatments that are available to lessen or remediate the effects of the disorders.

The text is organized into three sections on Language, Speech, and Hearing. Each chapter is concise and written to convey the core information for each topic. The material is presented in a way that maintains the interest of the student through expository clarity and brevity in a course that treats so many different facets of a complex discipline. The textbook also serves the needs of the instructor by organizing the material in a teachable way.

Introduction to Communication Sciences and Disorders emphasizes the scientific basis of the field by presenting specific clinical examples to demonstrate the translation of laboratory science to clinical aspects of speech, language, and hearing disorders. Students will leave the course a good deal more knowledgeable and sensitive about what it means to be communicatively impaired in contemporary society.

Key Features

  • Consistency of presentation across chapters as well as clearly-stated relationships between information in different chapters
  • Features beautiful original, full-color illustrations designed to be instructive learning tools
  • Each chapter begins with an introduction and ends with a summary to present and review key concepts
  • Modern and up-to-date treatment options written for the needs of the field of communication sciences and disorders
  • Covers the core essentials of the subject concisely and to the point
  • Structured to aid the instructor with sections easily assimilated into extant lectures
  • A PluralPlus companion website with ancillary materials for instructors, including quizzes, an image bank, and PowerPoint lecture slides. 

Praise from Instructors

“I found the content to be thorough and with some scientific detail, but entirely approachable for undergraduate students. The inclusion of anecdotes and analogies was entertaining and I think the students will enjoy this. The authors have done an impressive job of thoroughly describing the developmental processes without getting too mired in detail or, conversely, staying too superficial.”
—Sue Caspari, MA, CCC-SLP, Instructor, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Temple University

“This is an ideal text for surveying the domain of communication sciences and disorders. Other introductory texts often introduce clinical assessment and treatment aspects of CSD rapidly, resulting in a course that is too advanced and detailed for the entry-level learner. Weismer’s decision to largely exclude these aspects from the text reflects his considerable experience in teaching this specific style of course. In its place, he has offered a framework for immersing students in the scientific foundations of CSD with clinical examples, where they can build a careful understanding of theories and research that drive the field. Weismer has indeed hit the Goldilock’s
solution – just right.”
—Rachel Kasthurirathne, MA, CCC-SLP, Instructor of Record, PhD Student, Indiana University Bloomington

“I like the writing style and the way the authors take you back to previous information to make connections for the reader. I have read other texts that contain too much detail. I think this is a good amount of material and a good level for undergraduate students. The figures are beautiful—very clear and good coloring.  I believe this is a very valuable text that will give an excellent introduction to students about the field of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.”
—Gretchen Bennett, MA, CCC-SLP, Coordinator of Speech Language Clinical Services, Clinical Associate Professor/Supervisor, Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic, SUNY at Buffalo

The chapters are well organized and contain consistent focus. I really like how the chapters are organized into language, speech, and hearing. The book was easy to read and difficult concepts were explained clearly in a way that undergraduate students would understand. I like the trivia boxes. Overall, this textbook provides a thorough introduction to communication sciences and disorders.”
—Florence Lim-Hardjono, MA, PhD (ABD), CCC-SLP, Assistant Professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Mount Vernon Nazarene University

This Introduction to Communication Sciences and Disorders (CS&D) is written by two professors; Gary Weismer, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA; and David K. Brown, Professor in the School of Audiology at Pacific University, USA. It has been written ‘for undergraduate students who are taking a first course in the discipline of CS&D’ and is organized ‘into three sections on Language, Speech and Hearing’. This introduction is divided into concise chapters covering paediatric and adult communication disorders. It is a useful introduction and reference book for students and newly qualified practitioners, providing an overview of key elements of study […] The book is accompanied by registered access to a companion website for Students and Instructors [assumed ‘Lecturers’], at whom the book is also targeted. Student access provides clear Learning Objectives for each chapter; for example, the following Learning Objective in Chapter 1: ‘Explain what the term “Evidence-based practice” means and how it is related to different types of research evidence.’
The field of CS&Ds are put into a clear, historical context in Chapter 1 to establish the discipline, and stresses the importance of interdisciplinary working and evidence-based practices.

Chapters provide introductions to the nervous system and the key structures and processes involved in language, speech and hearing; language science; and communication in a multicultural society, which precede chapters on the foundations of speech and language development prior to covering paediatric and adult language disorders. The authors clearly outline the ‘integrated nature of language, speech and hearing processes’ and that there is not a ‘fixed formula . . . used for the inclusion of clinical information’ within the book.

Each chapter is a succinct introduction to a key clinical area of CS&D. Chapter 7 ‘Paediatric

Language Disorders I’ includes a section on the reviewer’s area of clinical specialism ‘Language Delay and Autism Spectrum Disorder’. As in other sections of the book, a brief summary of the disorder is explained, and key points from earlier parts of the book are referred to in order to ensure the reader is able to contextualize the disorder, e.g. the three major components of language are referred to from Chapter 3. Throughout the book references to key research articles are provided, which are neatly included to evidence the information provided. The authors have taken care to include recent references throughout the book. There are many from 2010 onwards balanced with key references from across earlier decades, which is a good feature alongside current ‘socio-cultural’ references about the disorders outlined, e.g. an explanation of ‘Neurotypical’ and ‘Neurodiverse’ within the autism community in Chapter 7. The book provides many usefully highlighted features, such as summaries of disorders, diagrams and photos to provide real-life examples of the disorders. As an example, the illustrations and patient transcriptions used to support the description of types of aphasia are particularly insightful.”

—Tom Bailey, Beyond Autism Schools, in Child Language, Teaching and Therapy (2020)





Chapter 1. Introduction to Communication Sciences and Disorders

Introduction: Communication Sciences and Disorders as a Discipline

Communication Sciences and Disorders: The Whole Is Greater than the Sum of Its Parts

            An Interdisciplinary Field

            Translational Research

            Does the Basic Science Work? Does the Clinic Work?

            Evidence Based Practice

            A Typical Undergraduate Curriculum

Who Are the Professionals in Communication Sciences and Disorders?

            Preparation for, and the Profession of, Speech-Language Pathology

            Preparation for, and the Profession of, Audiology

Order of Chapters in the Text

Chapter Summary



Chapter 2. The Nervous System: Language, Speech, and Hearing Structures and Processes


Central and Peripheral Nervous Systems

            The Neuron

            The Synapse

Tour of Gross Neuroanatomy

            Frontal Lobe

            Occipital Lobe

            Temporal Lobe

            Parietal Lobe

            Hidden Cortex

            Subcortical Nuclei

            Brain Stem, Cerebellum, and Spinal Cord

            The Auditory Pathways

The Dominant Hemisphere and the Perisylvian Language Areas

            Arcuate Fasciculus (Dorsal Stream) and Ventral Stream

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Speech and Language Brain Activity

            Functional Magnetic Resonance Testing

            Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI)

Chapter Summary



Chapter 3. Language Science


What is Language?

            Language: A Conventional System

            Language: A Dynamic System

            Language Is Generative

            Language Uses Mental Representations

            Language is Localized in the Brain

Components of Language


            Social Use of Language (Pragmatics)

Language and Cognitive Processes




Chapter Summary



Chapter 4. Communication in a Multicultural Society


Why It Matters

            Difference Versus Disorder

Standardized Testing and Language Difference Versus Disorder

Accent, Dialect, and Culture



            Code Switching

            Foreign Accent

Bilingualism and Multilingualism

Chapter Summary



Chapter 5. Preverbal Foundations of Speech and Language Development


Some Preparatory Notes on Developmental Chronologies

            0-3 Months: Production

            0-3 Months: Perception and Comprehension

            3-8 Months: Production

            3-8 Months: Perception and Comprehension

            8-12 Months: Production

            8-12 Months: Perception and Comprehension

Gesture and Preverbal Language Development

Chapter Summary



Chapter 6. Typical Language Development


            12-18 Months

            18-24 Months

            Three Years (36 Months)

Multiword Utterances, Grammatical Morphology

            Expanding Utterance Length: A Measure of Linguistic Sophistication

            Grammatical Morphology

Typical Language Development in School Years

            Metalinguistic Skills

            Pragmatic Skill: Discourse

            Complex Sentences

Sample Transcript

Chapter Summary



Chapter 7. Pediatric Language Disorders I


Specific Language Impairment/Developmental Language Disorder

            Language Characteristics of Children with SLI/DLD

Summary of the Language Disorder in SLI/DLD

What Is the Cause of SLI/DLD?

            The Role of Genetics in SLI/DLD

Language Delay and Autism Spectrum Disorder

            Language Characteristics in ASD

Language Delay and Hearing Impairment

            Epidemiology of Hearing Loss

            Language Characteristics in Hearing Impairment

            Speech and Language Development and Hearing Impairment

Chapter Summary



Chapter 8. Pediatric Language Disorders II


Criteria for a Diagnosis of ID

            Down Syndrome (DS): General Characteristics

            Epidemiology and the DS Phenotype

            Language Characteristics in DS

            Fragile X Syndrome: General Characteristics

            Epidemiology of FXS

            Language Characteristics in FXS

Chapter Summary



Chapter 9. Language Disorders in Adults


Review of Concepts for Brain Speech Structure and Function for Speech, Language and Hearing

            Cerebral Hemispheres

            Lateralization of Speech and Language Functions

            Language Expression and Comprehension Are Represented in Different Cortical Regions of the Left Hemisphere

            Connections Between Different Regions of the Brain

            Perisylvian Speech and Language Areas of the Brain

Adult Language Disorders: Aphasia

            Classification of Aphasia

            Aphasia Due to Stroke: A Summary

            Traumatic Brain Injury and Aphasia

            Nature of Brain Injury in TBI

            Language Impairment in TBI


            Brain Pathology in Dementia

            Language Disorders in Dementia

Chapter Summary



Chapter 10. Speech Science I


The Speech Mechanism: A Three-Component Description

            Respiratory System Component (Power Supply for Speech)

            The Respiratory System and Vegetative Breathing

            Speech Breathing

            Clinical Applications: An Example

The Larynx (Sound Source for Speech)

            Laryngeal Cartilages

            Laryngeal Muscles and Membranes


            Characteristics of Phonation

            Clinical Applications: An Example

Upper Airway (Consonants and Vowels)

            Muscles of the Vocal Tract

            Vocal Tract Shape and Vocalic Production

            Velopharyngeal Mechanism

            Valving in the Vocal Tract and the Formation of Speech Sounds


            Clinical Applications: An Example

Chapter Summary



Chapter 11. Speech Science II


The Theory of Speech Acoustics

            The Sound Source

            The Sound Filter

            Vowel Sounds Result from the Combination of Source and Filter Acoustics

            Resonant Frequencies of Vowels Are Called Formants: Spectrograms

            The Tube Model of Human Vocal Tract Makes Interesting Predictions and Suggests Interesting Problems

            A Spectrogram Shows Formant Frequencies and Much More

Speech Synthesis

Speech Recognition

Speech Acoustics and Assistive Listening Devices

Speech Perception

            The Perception of Speech: Special Mechanisms?

            The Perception of Speech: Auditory Theories

            Motor Theory and Auditory Theory: A Summary

            Top-Down Influences: It’s Not All About Speech Sounds

            Speech Intelligibility

Chapter Summary



Chapter 12. Phonetics


International Phonetic Alphabet

            Vowels and Their Phonetic Symbols

            Consonants and their Phonetic Symbols

            Clinical Implications of Phonetic Transcription

Chapter Summary



Chapter 13. Typical Phonological Development


            Phonetic and Phonological Development: General Considerations

Phonetic and Phonological Development

            Phonetic Development

            Phonological Development

Typical Speech Sound Development

            Determination of Speech Sound Mastery in Typically-Developing Children

            Possible Explanations for the Typical Sequence of Speech Sound Mastery

            Phonological Processes and Speech Sound Development

            Phonological Development and Word Learning

Chapter Summary



Chapter 14. Motor Speech Disorders in Adults


Classification of Motor Speech Disorders


            Subtypes of Dysarthria

            The Mayo Clinic Classification System for Motor Speech Disorders

            The Dysarthrias: A Summary

            Apraxia of Speech

Chapter Summary



Chapter 15. Pediatric Speech Disorders I


Speech Delay

            Diagnosis of Speech Delay

            Quantitative Measures of Speech Delay and Speech Intelligibility

            Speech Delay: Phonetic, Phonological, or Both?

            Additional Considerations in Speech Delay and Residual and Persistent Speech Sound Errors

            Speech Delay and Genetics

Childhood Apraxia of Speech

            CAS Compared with Adult Apraxia of Speech

            CAS: Prevalence and General Characteristics

            CAS: Speech Characteristics

            CAS and Overlap with Other Developmental Delays

            CAS and Genetics

Chapter Summary



Chapter 16. Pediatric Speech Disorders II


Childhood Motor Speech Disorders: Cerebral Palsy

            Types of Cerebral Palsy

            Dysarthria in Cerebral Palsy

Childhood Motor Speech Disorders: Traumatic Brain Injury and Tumors

            Traumatic Brain Injury

            Brain Tumors

            Treatment Options and Considerations

Chapter Summary



Chapter 17. Fluency Disorders


Incidence and Prevalence of Stuttering

Genetic Studies

Diagnosis of Developmental Stuttering

The Natural History of Developmental Stuttering

            Stage I: Typical Dysfluencies

            Stage II: Borderline Stuttering

            Stage III: Beginning Stuttering

            Stage IV: Intermediate Stuttering

            Stage V: Advanced Stuttering

            Recovery of Fluency

Possible Causes of Stuttering

            Psychogenic Theories

            Learning Theories

            Biological Theories

Acquired (Neurogenic) Stuttering

            Symptoms of Neurogenic Stuttering Compared with Developmental Stuttering

Treatment Considerations

Chapter Summary



Chapter 18. Voice Disorders


Epidemiology of Voice Disorders

Initial Steps in the Diagnosis of Voice Disorders

            Case History

            Perceptual Evaluation of the Voice

            Viewing the Vocal Folds

            Measurement of Basic Voice Parameters

Classification/Types of Voice Disorders

            The Hypo-Hyperfunction Continuum


            Organic Voice Disorders

            Functional Voice Disorders

            Neurological Voice Disorders

Pediatric Voice Disorders

            Prevalence of Childhood Voice Disorders

            Types of Childhood Voice Disorders

            Treatment of Childhood Voice Disorders

Chapter Summary



Chapter 19. Craniofacial Anomalies


Definition and Origins of Craniofacial Anomalies

            Embryological Development of the Upper Lip and Associated Structures

            Embryological Errors and Clefting: Clefts of the Lip

            Embryological Errors and Clefting: Clefts of the Palate

            Cleft Lip With or Without a Cleft Palate; Cleft Palate Only (Isolated Cleft Palate)

Epidemiology of Clefting

Speech Production in CL/P and CPO

            Diagnosis of VPI

            VPI and Hypernasality

            VPI, Consonant Articulation, and Speech Intelligibility

            Clefting and Syndromes

            Cleft Palate: Other Considerations

Chapter Summary



Chapter 20. Swallowing


Anatomy of Swallowing



The Act of Swallowing

            Oral Preparatory Phase

            Oral Transport Phase

            Pharyngeal Phase

            Esophageal Phase

            Overlap of Phases

Breathing and Swallowing

Nervous System Control of Swallowing

            Role of the Peripheral Nervous System

            Role of the Central Nervous System

Variables That Influence Swallowing

            Bolus Characteristics



Measurement and Analysis of Swallowing



            Client Self-Report

Health Care Team for Individuals with Swallowing Disorders

Chapter Summary



Chapter 21. Hearing Science I: Acoustics and Psychoacoustics





            Waveform and Spectrum





            Sound Quality

Chapter Summary



Chapter 22. Hearing Science II: Anatomy and Physiology


Temporal Bone

Peripheral Anatomy of the Ear

            Outer Ear (Conductive Mechanism)

            Middle Ear

            Inner Ear (Sensorineural Mechanism)

Chapter Summary



Chapter 23. Diseases of the Auditory System and Diagnostic Audiology


Hearing Evaluation

            Case History




            Acoustic Reflex Thresholds (ART)

            Audiometric Testing

            Physiological Responses

Vestibular Assessment

Audiometric Results

            Type, Degree and Configuration of Loss

Hearing and Balance Disorders

            Patient Examples

Chapter Summary



Chapter 24. Assistive Listening Devices


Hearing Aids

            Steps in Selecting and Fitting a Hearing Aid

            Types of Hearing Aids

            Hearing Aid Components

Auditory Implantable Devices

            Bone-Anchored Implant (BAI)

            Middle Ear Implant (MEI)

            Cochlear Implant (CI)

Chapter Summary

            Hearing Aids

            Auditory Implantable Devices



Chapter 25. Aural Habilitation and Rehabilitation


Aural Habilitation

            Assessment of Communication Needs in Children

            Pediatric Intervention

            Components of a Family-Centered Intervention

            Auditory Training in Aural Habilitation

            Communication Options

            Outcome Measures for Pediatrics

Aural Rehabilitation

            Assessment of Communication Needs in Adults

            Adult Intervention

            Auditory Training in Aural Rehabilitation

            Communication Strategies


           Outcome Measures for Adults

            Group Aural Rehabilitation

Chapter Summary

            Aural Habilitation

            Aural Rehabilitation




Gary Weismer

Gary Weismer, PhD, is Oros-Bascom Professor Emeritus in the Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders, University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the Pennsylvania State University and his doctorate from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1975. Dr. Weismer's research publications concern speech production in healthy talkers, as well as speech production and speech intelligibility in persons with motor speech disorders. Dr. Weismer served twice as Associate Editor for the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research (formerly the Journal of Speech and Hearing Research), as Associate Editor at Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica (FPL) from 2004 to 2011, and as Editor-in-Chief at FPL from 2011 to 2016. During his 35 years at University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. Weismer won several teaching awards, including for mentoring efforts in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Honors program. Dr. Weismer mentored 16 doctoral students during his career, many of whom are currently scientific leaders and university administrators. He is a past member of the Executive Board of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics IALP), an Honored Member of IALP, a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, and past chair of his department. He has edited, authored, and coauthored five textbooks.

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David K. Brown

David K. Brown, PhD, has been Professor in the School of Audiology at Pacific University since it enrolled its first students in 2012. He is also the Director of the Audiology Simulation Lab (SIMLab) at Pacific. Previously, he was Director of Audiological Research for Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and Assistant Professor in the Departments of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Cincinnati. For over 35 years, he has been a licensed and certified audiologist specializing in pediatrics. He teaches courses at both the graduate and undergraduate level in the areas of acoustics, anatomy and physiology, audiometry, cochlear implants, evoked potentials, otoacoustic emissions, pediatrics, and research fundamentals.

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Purchase of Introduction to Communication Sciences and Disorders: The Scientific Basis of Clinical Practice comes with access to supplementary student and instructor materials on a PluralPlus companion website.


To access the student materials, you must register the access code printed on the inside front cover of your book on the companion website


To access the instructor materials, you must contact Plural Publishing, Inc. to be verified as an instructor and receive your access code.


            Tel: 866-758-7251 (toll free) or 858-492-1555

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