Speech-language pathology is a fascinating field.
Today, we as speech-language pathologists get the opportunity to work with a broad range of people. One of the most important aspects of our field is establishing connections with the people we are working with.
This hasn’t always been the case.
Samuel Potter wrote one of the first American books on speech disorders in the 1880s. Potter was himself a medical doctor in America who stuttered. In his book, Speech and its defects. Considered physiologically, pathologically, historically and remedially, he wrote, “The patient should be carefully and regularly exercised on the offending sounds by reading aloud, repeating the alphabet, or other exercises in pronunciation.”
In 1951, Ollie Backus and Jane Beasley in their book entitled Speech Therapy with Children, in which they wrote, “Speech therapy more and more is shifting away from an orientation based primarily upon devices, toward one based primarily upon therapeutic relationship.” In their framework, children are viewed in terms of the ongoing interpersonal dynamics rather than in terms of their clinical diagnosis.
Going on 70 years later, we certainly have changed the trajectory of speech-language therapy. Imagine speech room today that does not recognize the foundation of the relationship. I don’t think there’s one out there.
At least, I hope not.
As for the history of medical speech-language pathology, check out the fascinating article titled Historical aphasia cases by Hélio A.G. Teive, Renato P. Munhoz, and Paulo Caramelli, who cover some of the most fascinating early explorations of aphasia.
Vladimir Ilyitch Ulyanov, who was better known as Lenin, was one of the founders of the Bolshevik (communist) party in Russia and the intellectual leader of the October Revolution. After the revolution, he became head of the Soviet state.
Lenin died in 1924 at the age of 54 after suffering a series of ischemic strokes brought about by severe atherosclerotic disease of a familial nature.
Lenin’s cerebrovascular disease started to manifest itself when he was 52 years old in the form of various transient ischemic attacks with sensory deficits in the right side of the body, particularly affecting the hand and sometimes accompanied by language impairment. There is evidence that the signs and symptoms of a stroke, such as loss of consciousness, right hemiparesis/ hemiplegia and aphasia, occurred in 1922 and 1923.
There are reports that the head of the medical service at the Kremlin, Dr. Khodorovsky, discovered manuscripts written by Professor Kramer, the neurologist who treated Lenin. In these, he relates Lenin’s disease to severe atherosclerotic changes in the cerebral blood vessels.
In March 1923, according to information from Professor Kramer’s diary, Lenin presented with a clinical pic- ture of aphasia, when he “tried to say something but only emitted incomprehensible sounds,” or even “appeared to be completely conscious but was suffering from complete motor aphasia.” There are reports that at that time Lenin nearly always responded to questions by saying “Vot-vot.”
You can read their fascinating full article here.
You can also read more about the history of speech-language pathology at Judy Duchan’s fabulous site.
But anyway, I digress.
It’s a fascinating field, and one that deserves to be shown off on your favorite apparel.
This design captures the scope of practice of speech-language pathology: speech/language and voice, cognition, and dysphagia.
It’s available in multiple styles, including: