FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE

Mike Greenwood, TSM Group

One of OSHA’s newest members wasn’t able to attend this year’s OSHA/WSHA conference in Vancouver. She was busy teaching her classes at the Moscow City Teachers University in Moscow, Russia.

Dr. Elena Dyakova is an assistant professor of Speech Pathology at Moscow City Pedagogical University and a research fellow at the Moscow Medical Academy where she conducts research and is a consultant dealing with young children who exhibit severe speech disorders. In addition to this work and her private practice, she is also a researcher at a psycho-neurological clinic dealing with children, adolescents and adults having varied speech defects including stuttering, dysarthria, juvenile aphasia, and defects in reading and writing. After attending last year’s conference, Dr. Dyakova was so impressed with the friendliness and acceptance she experienced, that she has joined OSHA, one of the organization’s very few international members.

Over the last decade, Dr. Dyakova has developed a significant new approach to the treatment of a wide variety of speech disorders. This new approach incorporates an extensive use of massage, much more so than in the usual standard treatment. For the US audience, she has dubbed her method: Therapeutic Speech Massage, (TSM). She has been using TSM for a number years with unusual success. Her massage techniques have proven to be quite beneficial to her patients in Russia, and she is hoping to introduce these techniques to her colleagues here in the United States. As beneficial as she believes her methods to be, Dr. Dyakova warns, “These methods are no (silver bullet) for speech problems. They must be used in cooperation with the standard methods and treatments used all over the world. My methods are used to make the muscles of speech more ready to accept (traditional) methods of treatment.”

Dr. Dyakova is in high demand and has presented workshops and seminars in a number of cities throughout western Russia and has presented at 17 international conferences. In January of 2006, she began her efforts to bring her methods to the US with a very successful two day workshop in Portland. Participants in the workshop expressed delight with her instruction and their “hands-on” learning experience. Last month, from Moscow she stated, “I hope the seminar in Portland will be a beginning to bring Therapeutic Speech Massage (TSM) to the United States.”

Dr. Dyakova received the degree of Candidate of Science (Ph. D) from the Moscow State Pedagogical University where she was also awarded her Diploma (BS) in speech pathology. She is the author of several books which have been translated into a number of languages and is in the process of having one of her books translated into English.