Ollie Lucy Backus


BA, Michigan, 1929

MA, Michigan, 1930

PH.D. Wisconsin, 1933

Ollie Backus came to speech-pathology by way of public speaking. Her graduate studies had an emphasis on anatomy, physiology, and neurology. She worked in the public schools and as a clinic supervisor and had a particular interest in the education of teachers. (Journal of Speech Disorders, 5 1940, 349-356). She was chair of the Department of Speech at State Teachers College in Slippery Rock Pennslyvania. Jane Beasley was her student there. Beasley's Master's thesis included therapy plans that became part of classic Backus and Beasley book on group therapies with children (1951).

"Backus was a visionary in more than one area of communication impairment…She advocated that the treatment for aphasia constitute an intensive program that required attendance from 5 to 7 hours a day. She and her colleague Vivian Mowat Sheehan studied aphasia therapy that included both individual and group instruction with such activities as group singing, creative dramatics, club meetings and social activities" (From Leonard L. LaPointe in Miller, Yoder, Schiefelbusch, p. 132)

Articles and Books: (Arranged chronologically)

Backus, O. (1938). Better speech story, Nation's School, 22, 29-31

Backus, O. (1940) Problems of policy--The education of teachers. Journal of Speech Disorders, 5, 349-356.

Backus, O. (1943). Speech in education: A guide for the classroom teacher. NY: Longman, Green, & Co.

Backus, O. & Dunn, H. (1944). Experiments in the synthesis of clinical methods into a program of rehabilitation. Journal of Speech Disorders, 9, 1-17.

Backus, O. (1945). The rehabilitation of aphasic veterans. Journal of Speech Disorders, 10, 149-153.

Backus, O. (1947). The rehabilitation of persons with aphasia. Chap 25 in second edition of R. West, L. Kennedy & A. Carr & O. Backus, The rehabilitation of speech. NY: Harper and Brothers Pub.

Backus, O. & Dunn, H. (1947). Use of conversational speech patterns to promote speed and retention of learning. Journal of Speech Disorders, 12, 135-142.

Backus, O. & Dunn, H. M. (1947). Intensive group therapy in speech rehabilitation. Journal of Speech Disorders, 12, 39-60.

Backus, O. (1949). Letter to the editor, Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 14, 265-267.

Backus, O. (1950). Personality structure in relation to speech therapy. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 36, 51-56.

Backus, O. (1950). Children with cleft palate and cleft lip. Chapter 6 in W. Johnson (Ed). Speech problems of children. NY: Grune & Stratton.

Backus, O. (1950).The principleof non-identity applied to speech therapy. General Semantics Bulletin, 4 & 5, 20-27.

Backus, O. & Beasley, J. (1951). Speech therapy with children. NY: Houghton Mifflin.

Backus, O. (1952). The use of group structure in speech therapy. Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 17, 116-122.

Backus, O. (1952). Collaboration among psychiatrists, pediatricians, clinical psychologists, and speech therapists. Nervous Child, 9, 242-256.

Backus, O. (1953). Letter to the editor, Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 18, 190-203.

Backus, O. & Coffman, R. (1953). Group therapy with preschool children having cerebral palsy, Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 18, 350-354.

Backus, O. (1957). Group structure in speech therapy. In L. Travis (Ed.). Handbook of speech pathology. (pp. 117-157). NY: Appleton Century Crofts.