More on SLP Titles I was challenged by Dr. Tommie Robinson’s “What’s in a Name?” article published in the Nov. 23, 2010, edition of The ASHA Leader and wanted to respond. In the article, Dr. Robinson encouraged our advocacy for the title of “speech-language pathologist” over that of “speech teacher” or “speech therapist.” I ... Inbox
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The ASHA Leader, April 2011, Vol. 16, 45. doi:10.1044/leader.IN3.16042011.45
The ASHA Leader, April 2011, Vol. 16, 45. doi:10.1044/leader.IN3.16042011.45
I was challenged by Dr. Tommie Robinson’s “What’s in a Name?” article published in the Nov. 23, 2010, edition of The ASHA Leader and wanted to respond. In the article, Dr. Robinson encouraged our advocacy for the title of “speech-language pathologist” over that of “speech teacher” or “speech therapist.” I wanted to offer a different perspective!
Having worked previously in school settings for five years, my experience is that the children do not discriminate between different adults in their school environment. If you are an adult and you are working with them, you are the teacher! I feel that being a “speech teacher” not only accommodates the children’s perspective and gets on their level by simplifying terminology for their benefit, it is also a label of the utmost respect.
When I hear the term “speech therapist,” I think “healing.” It reminds me of my own experiences with massage therapy—working on a muscle repetitively for positive health outcome, similar to how we in the speech profession labor with repetition over a needed skill, striving for positive results. I personally find the term “pathologist” calls to mind the concept of “disease,” as “pathology” itself involves study of diseases. It is also difficult to say for people who already have speech and language difficulties.
I was inspired by Dr. Robinson’s admonition to take pride in our professional identities. The importance of vocabulary is challenging, fascinating, perplexing, and wonderful to me.
Thank you for a thought-provoking question.
Shannon Hanes Austin, Texas
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April 2011
Volume 16, Issue 4