Brief History of Speech-Language Patholoy

Last time on the Albuquerque Speech Language Hearing Center we took a very brief dip into the history books to talk about audiology and its very recent creation. This time we’re looking at the Speech language component of our studies.

Speech is made up of several components: resonance, fluency, pitch variance, voice, intonation, and phonation. Language meanwhile is made up of phonology and morphology, syntax and semantics and pragmatics. All of these make up the wide scope of speech and their possible issues including:

  • Word finding issues
  • Social communication difficulties
  • Impairments in literacy, structural langage, or cognitive
  • Voice troubles

Originally rooted in elocution, speech perfection, speech pathology came to prominence in the mid 1920’s, when the American Academy of Speech Correction was formed. Much like it’s sibling science audiology, speech-language pathology saw growth when many soldiers returned home from WWII with dramatic brain injuries causing aphasia. In the following decades, practitioners began to focus more on the ways in which the brain processes function, while other sciences such as brain studies began to expand.
This simultaneous development of fields leads to the field of speech pathology becoming a speech-language pathology. In the 60’s – 80’s further advances in linguistics advanced the speech-language pathologist’s ability to treat a variety of disorders in people of all ages. As we entered the 21st century, speech-language pathology has grown further allowing research and treatment of language as well as with other communication disorders.

Much like our audiology post last time, this has been a very brief, very basic overview of what goes into this aspect of our field. As the world changes, the call of speech-language pathologists will change as they fine-tune the treatments needed for each individual patient. It rarely is a one size fits all treatment as there are dozens upon dozens of combinations of problems and it is up to us and our highly trained, knowledgable practioners to see that no person goes unheard.