underlined the concept of using assessment to guide instruction, sometimes called diagnostic-prescriptive teaching. Both of these ideas had been championed by Monroe (1932) earlier, but they did not gain widespread popularity until the extensive use of the ITPA.
While the ITPA was the dominant approach to language problems of children with learning disabilities in the 1960s, there were other language theorists who also garnered considerable support. Perhaps the most notable was Helmer Myklebust. Myklebust’s original work was in the area of the deaf. However, he found that many children referred to his clinic had normal hearing acuity, but they exhibited poor auditory comprehension.
A driving force behind Myklebust’s orientation was his belief that many children with learning disabilities, which he referred to as “psychoneurological learning disabilities,” had problems in interneurosensory learning, the ability to combine information from two sensory modalities. For this reason, he eschewed Fernald’s VAKT approach (Hallahan & Cruickshank, 1973).
Myklebust teamed with Doris Johnson to develop remedial techniques, primarily for receptive and expressive language problems (Johnson & Myklebust, 1967). Some of their suggestions for remediating receptive language problems were that: (a) training comprehension skills should come before training expressive skills, (b) whole words and sentences should be trained rather than nonsense words or isolated sounds, and (c) words sounding different should be taught before words that have sounds that are difficult to discriminate.
Johnson and Myklebust focused on two types of expressive language problems relevant to children with learning disabilities: reauditorization deficits, or problems in word retrieval, and syntax deficits. For reauditorization deficits they suggested such things as rapid naming drills using real words. For problems with syntax, rather than teaching grammatical rules, they provided “a series of sentences auditorially, sufficiently structured with experience so the child will retain and internalize various sentence plans” (Johnson & Myklebust, 1967, p. 137).
Visual and visual-motor disabilities. There was a proliferation of training programs developed in the 1960s for visual perceptual and/or visual-motor disabilities. The most notable figures promoting these programs were Newell Kephart, Marianne Frostig, Gerald Getman, Raymond Barsch, Glen Doman, and Carl Delacato.
Newall Kephart probably did the most to create an upsurge in interest in visual and visual-motor problems in children with learning disabilities. His major publication was The Slow Learner in the Classroom (Kephart, 1960, 1971), which contained his theoretical ideas as well as numerous perceptual-motor training exercises.
Influenced by his earlier tenure at the Wayne County Training School, Kephart came up with even more extensive theoretical conceptualizations and practical suggestions than had his mentors, Strauss, Werner, and Lehtinen. Kephart based his work heavily on the then-popular theories of visual perceptual development of Heinz Werner (1948, 1957), Harry Harlow (1951), and John and Eleanor Gibson (1955). For example, he relied on Werner’s theory that perceptual development in children progresses from being undifferentiated to being broken down into parts to the integration and reformulation of the parts into a whole.
The most important aspect of Kephart’s theory was what he referred to as the “perceptual-motor match,” which he based largely on Brown and Campbell’s (1948) servomechanistic model of perceptual development:
When the output pattern has been generated, it is sent down the efferent nerves…and response results. On the way,…a portion of the output pattern is…fed back into the system at the output end. The presence of feedback in the perceptual process makes the system a servomechanism. (p. 60)