History of ASHA

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is the nation's leading professional, credentialing, and scientific organization for speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and speech/language/hearing scientists. ASHA has been the leader of these professions for over 91 years, initiating the development of national standards for audiologists and speech-language pathologists and certification since 1952.

ASHA's rich history began in 1925 at an informal meeting of the National Association of Teachers of Speech (NATS) in New York City. NATS was an organization made up of people working in the areas of rhetoric, debate and theater. Some of its members were becoming increasingly interested in speech correction and wanted to establish an organization to promote "scientific, organized work in the field of speech correction." Accordingly, in December of that year, the American Academy of Speech Correction—ASHA's original predecessor—was born.

Since the establishment of the American Academy of Speech Correction in 1925, the association has changed its name 4 times; 1927–American Society for the Study of Disorders of Speech; 1934–American Speech Correction Association; 1947–American Speech and Hearing Association; and 1978–American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

ASHA has grown exponentially since its inception—from 25 charter members in the beginning to 186,000 members in 2016. ASHA opened its first National Office on January 1, 1958 in Washington, DC. The association subsequently moved 4 times, most recently settling in its current location in Rockville, MD in 2007. ASHA's new National Office is a LEED certified green building—the first nonprofit company's building of that distinction in Maryland.

In addition to ASHA's mission of empowering and supporting speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists, ASHA is also committed to providing a positive and nurturing environment for its employees. ASHA has been recognized several times as a workplace of excellence and has been featured in Washingtonian Magazine as one of the Top 50 Great Places to Work in the Washington, DC area. ASHA is committed to supporting work/life balance and strives to foster a culture of creativity and teamwork.

ASHA is governed by a Board of Directors and led by Chief Executive Officer Arlene A. Pietranton, PhD, CAE. To date, ASHA has approximately 284 employees at its National Office.

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