Union of the
The Medical Specialty for Communication and Swallowing Disorders


On the initiative of Peter Biesalski (Germany), Dušan Cvejić (Yugoslavia), Gerhard Kittel (Germany), and Oskar Schindler (Italy), the Union of the European Phoniatricians was founded in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in 1971.

Important Letters


Lucerne, 1999
To the members of the UEP

Leaving the active participation to the U.E.P. work, I would like to address to the members my goodbye and the expression of my personal satisfaction for the professional studies performed together and specially, being with P. Biesalski, G. Kittel and D. Cvejic, one of the four initiators of the U.E.P., I would like to remember the common spirit all of us had.

1. We had the sharp intention to formalize and concretize the relatively new medical science of communicology (not vocology, not audiology, not deglutology, not aphasiology or medical linguistics, not fluentology or any other partial field of the pathophysiology of the human communication).

2. We choose the name phoniatrics because it had a strong European tradition, but anyhow by that label we intended anything concerning any form or aspect of human communication and as a consequence, we wrote in the by-laws the formula understandable for those times of the fields of voice, speech, language and hearing (not formalizing other also intended chapters as general communication, non verbal communication, deglutition, learning, etc.).

I think that today we should be faithful to the original concepts in the interest of the well established medical specialty of phoniatrics of the clients having any kind of problems in the field of human communication. Phoniatrics is nowadays formally recognized for example by IFOS (as demonstrated by the existence of a standing committee on Phoniatrics, chaired by Prof. A. Pruszewicz to whom I addressed in February 1999 the enclosed letter). We should pay attention that no medical person (no ENT specialist, no neurologist, no paedoneurologist, no psychiatrist, no physical doctor, etc.) has the competence of the entire field both of physiology and pathology of human communication, and it would be a pity that communicopathic clients should be cared by non medical figures (psychologists, linguists, sociologists, other). We also have the responsibility to face the logopedes or logopedists or speech pathologists both in their formation and in their assistance as non-medical specialists in communicology. In this spirit and with this thoughts I wish you all the best possible future as scientists, as Professionals, as persons.

Cordially yours, Oscar Schindler

Attached is a letter to Antoni Pruszewicz, Chairman of the Standing IFOS Committee on Phoniatrics and Voice Care, agreeing with his proposal of introducing pathophysiology of human communication as a priority problem of IFOS in the 21rst century and containing the following comments:

It should be explicit that the phoniatric competence is primarily in the knowledge and related skills of the normal functioning of some human abilities and specifically of the following:

  • voice
  • speech
  • language
  • non verbal (and verbal) communication
  • fluency of the abovementioned functions
  • swallowing
  • academic learning
  • interpersonal relationship
  • other

The knowledge-management of the abovementioned abilities implies also the knowledge- management of the related functions and specifically of the totality or of many functions of the following chapters:

  • sensoperception
  • practomotricity (but also secretions and excretions)
  • the central neuroendocrinoimmunitary processing (with special attention to the cognitivity and to the making decisions and to the so called “higher cortical functions”)
  • the social (and cultural) emotional interpersonal relationship
  • the general abilities
  • the patients’ history and territory

The nosological catalogue (not easily found in the I.C.D. 10 WHO classification) cannot be rigid, but could be divided in the following chapters:

  • voice disorders (dysphonias)
  • organic speech disorders (dyslalias). Comment of the editor (J. Wendler): the term “dyslalia” is widely used to describe developmental disorders of articulation, whilst organic speech disorders may be dysglossias (peripheral) or dysarthrias (central) – terminology under discussion
  • fluency disorders
  • aphasias
  • dysarthrias
  • retardations and dementiae (oligophrenias)
  • swallowing disorders
  • verbal disorders in the deaf (and related disabilities and problems)
  • learning disorders
  • sociocultural and emotional troubles
  • other

4. The phoniatric corpus doctrinale is not sufficiently considered and respected even in the last WHO draft for the ICIDH-2, which showed emphasize and encompass the educational and rehabilitation aspects.

Our standing committee could promote a commission on these problems and related consequences.

Very cordially,

Oskar Schindler

author: J. Wendler, Berlin

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E: uep-office@phoniatrics.eu