Celebrating a Milestone in Speech-Language Pathology As a clinician for more than 10 years, I sometimes assume that speech-language pathologists have been around since the beginning of time. The reality, however, is that our profession in the United States is marking an important milestone this year—the 100th anniversary of the provision of school-based services. Although we ... Features
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Features  |   December 01, 2010
Celebrating a Milestone in Speech-Language Pathology
Author Notes
  • Dana Battaglia, MA, CCC-SLP, is a clinical coordinator of outreach services at the Eden II/Genesis Program in Plainview, N.Y., and teacher of individuals with speech and hearing impairments in Farmingdale, N.Y.. She serves as an adjunct professor at local universities on Long Island, and is a doctoral candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York. Contact her at dbattaglia@gc.cuny.edu
    Dana Battaglia, MA, CCC-SLP, is a clinical coordinator of outreach services at the Eden II/Genesis Program in Plainview, N.Y., and teacher of individuals with speech and hearing impairments in Farmingdale, N.Y.. She serves as an adjunct professor at local universities on Long Island, and is a doctoral candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York. Contact her at dbattaglia@gc.cuny.edu×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Features
Features   |   December 01, 2010
Celebrating a Milestone in Speech-Language Pathology
The ASHA Leader, December 2010, Vol. 15, online only. doi:10.1044/leader.FTR5.15152010.np
The ASHA Leader, December 2010, Vol. 15, online only. doi:10.1044/leader.FTR5.15152010.np
As a clinician for more than 10 years, I sometimes assume that speech-language pathologists have been around since the beginning of time. The reality, however, is that our profession in the United States is marking an important milestone this year—the 100th anniversary of the provision of school-based services.
Although we have a formal record of a century of speech and language intervention in the United States, communication intervention is much older. Philosophers, anthropologists, psychologists, linguists, and others have studied language, its structure, function, and origins, for centuries (Hegde, 2010). References to communication disorders are found in Greek mythology (Paden, 1970).
The earliest documented “speech correctionists” in the U.S. were in practice in 1910 in the Chicago public schools. During that time, 1,287 “stammering children” were identified by the superintendent of schools. Ten teachers dedicated to speech correction were subsequently assigned to intervene with these students (Moore & Kester, 1953). The focus of intervention relied heavily on disorders of articulation and fluency, which was reflected in the name “speech correctionists.” These professionals (frequently called “speech teachers”) were interested in public speaking, foreign language interpretation, forensics, and theater.
Between 1910 and the mid-1920s there were two important gains. First, publications related to the scientific study of speech disorders appeared (under the umbrella of the medical profession), and the first college-level courses related to treatment of speech disorders was established. At this point, this fledgling group of interventionists needed to unify, and in 1925, The American Academy of Speech Correction—which evolved into ASHA—was born. The academy’s focus was to promote the science of speech correction, bring clinicians together for professional development, establish policy, and build the speech-language pathology profession.
The continuing evolution of our association’s name—and the names of our academic journals—reflect the changes in practice over the years and perception of communication sciences and disorders. In 1927 the organization’s founders wanted to reflect its membership more explicitly in alignment with the medical community, and the name was changed to The American Society for the Study of Disorders of Speech. In 1930 the organization established a code of ethics and in 1934 renamed itself again as The American Speech Correction Association. In March 1936, the first speech-language pathology journal, Journal of Speech Disorders, appeared.
Growth continued, and with the emergence of audiology in World War II, in 1947 the association’s leaders renamed the organization The American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) and the journal became the Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders. Over time, the number of clinicians in both professions increased and ASHA grew, as did the journal submissions. On January 1, 1958, ASHA established its national office in Washington, D.C.
Language and its disorders became a focus of SLPs’ clinical work over the next 20 years, and in 1978 the organization became the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. The title of treating clinicians also evolved from “speech correctionists” to “speech-language pathologists.”
Our founders in the United States had a vision, and we have a duty to continue to move that vision forward, continuing to improve policy, conducting research, engaging in varied clinical practice, and subsequently improving the quality of life of those individuals we serve.
In this brief recollection, one can take a moment in time to celebrate all of the accomplishments that precede us and that provide inspiration for the future. Speech-language pathology intervention in the schools has grown significantly from its early days to include dysfluency, social skills intervention, and Response to Intervention (RTI). It’s hard to fathom what the next 100 years will bring. Happy Anniversary, speech-language pathology. I wish you another century of continued progress and prosperity!
References
Duchan, J. (2008, August 14). Getting here: A short history of speech pathology in America. Retrieved March 14, 2010, from www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~duchan/new_history/hist19c/professionalism.html.
Duchan, J. (2008, August 14). Getting here: A short history of speech pathology in America. Retrieved March 14, 2010, from www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~duchan/new_history/hist19c/professionalism.html.×
Hegde, M. N. (2010). Introduction to Communicative Disorders (4th Ed.). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.
Hegde, M. N. (2010). Introduction to Communicative Disorders (4th Ed.). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.×
Moore, P., & Kester, D. G. (1953). Historical notes on speech correction in the pre-association era. Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 18,48–53. [Article] [PubMed]
Moore, P., & Kester, D. G. (1953). Historical notes on speech correction in the pre-association era. Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 18,48–53. [Article] [PubMed]×
Paden, E. (1970). A History of the American Speech Association, 1925-1958. Rockville, MD: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Paden, E. (1970). A History of the American Speech Association, 1925-1958. Rockville, MD: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.×
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December 2010
Volume 15, Issue 15