Name Reflects Communication In his Dec. 23, 2010, column, Dr. Tommie Robinson notes that speech-language pathologists are inconsistent in their job titles. While I agree with the importance of a consistent professional job title, I question whether the title “speech-language pathologist” is the best match for the role. I feel that the word ... Inbox
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Inbox  |   February 01, 2011
Name Reflects Communication
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Professional Issues & Training / Language Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Inbox
Inbox   |   February 01, 2011
Name Reflects Communication
The ASHA Leader, February 2011, Vol. 16, 4. doi:10.1044/leader.IN2.16022011.4
The ASHA Leader, February 2011, Vol. 16, 4. doi:10.1044/leader.IN2.16022011.4
In his Dec. 23, 2010, column, Dr. Tommie Robinson notes that speech-language pathologists are inconsistent in their job titles. While I agree with the importance of a consistent professional job title, I question whether the title “speech-language pathologist” is the best match for the role.
I feel that the word “pathologist” limits the role to one of a diagnostician, not a treatment provider. It has a medical connotation of disease, and the lengthy title is quite a mouthful. The title of “speech therapist” lacks reference to language and the broader scope of communication. I suggest the profession consider a different job title such as “communication therapist” because it is consistent with other disciplines (e.g., physical or occupational therapist), is a title the public can relate to and understand, conveys our role in helping those with communication needs, and represents the broad range of communication services.
Each of us has an ongoing professional responsibility to educate the public regarding communication. Too many still believe that a “speech therapist” works only on “speech” (i.e., articulation). As professionals, we need a title reflecting the broad range of needs served by those with degrees in communication disorders.
Gayle S. Coonce San Diego, California
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February 2011
Volume 16, Issue 2