A Speech-Language Pathologist by Any Other Name In the Nov. 23 issue, Tommie Robinson Jr. addresses an issue deeply embedded in our association’s history, namely our professional identity. He does so by urging us to refer to ourselves as speech-language pathologists rather than answer to designations, such as “speechee,” that can diminish our capacity to be as ... Inbox
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A Speech-Language Pathologist by Any Other Name
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Inbox   |   January 01, 2011
A Speech-Language Pathologist by Any Other Name
The ASHA Leader, January 2011, Vol. 16, 2. doi:10.1044/leader.IN1.16012011.2
The ASHA Leader, January 2011, Vol. 16, 2. doi:10.1044/leader.IN1.16012011.2
In the Nov. 23 issue, Tommie Robinson Jr. addresses an issue deeply embedded in our association’s history, namely our professional identity. He does so by urging us to refer to ourselves as speech-language pathologists rather than answer to designations, such as “speechee,” that can diminish our capacity to be as helpful as we might. I could not agree more, although doing so seems contrary to the popular belief poetically summarized by Shakespeare that “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” and later echoed by Gertrude Stein as “A rose is a rose is a rose.”
Names do count. As collections of attributes, desirable and undesirable, and as magnets for respect or grounds for dismissal, they shape perception, which, we realize, is reality. Just ask anyone in marketing introducing a new product or parents wrestling with what to name their child. These are not insignificant matters. Is it possible that a baby named “Ima Pigg” would have had a different experience of life given another name or that a VCR named “Beta” would have been more competitive with another designation? Quite likely. That is why heeding the caution implied in Robinson’s column to choose with care the title we use makes sense.
Ellen-Marie Silverman, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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January 2011
Volume 16, Issue 1