The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is a national voluntary membership association whose primary scientific and professional focus is on human communication behavior and disorders. Founded in 1925 as the American Academy of Speech Correction, the organization became the American Society for the Study of Disorders of Speech in 1927, the American Speech Correction Association in 1934, and the American Speech and Hearing Association in 1947; it assumed its present name in 1978.
According to ASHA Bylaws, Article II, the purposes of the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) are to:
- Encourage basic scientific study of the processes of individual human communication, with special reference to speech, language, and hearing;
- Promote appropriate academic and clinical preparation of individuals entering the discipline of human communication sciences and disorders and promote the maintenance of current knowledge and skills of those within the discipline;
- Promote investigation and prevention of disorders of human communication;
- Foster improvement of clinical services and procedures concerning such disorders;
- Stimulate exchange of information among persons and organizations thus engaged and to disseminate such information;
- Advocate for the rights and interests of persons with communication disorders; and
- Promote the individual and collective professional interests of the members of the Association.
To that end, the Association established the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) to accredit graduate education programs that provide entry-level professional preparation with a major emphasis in speech-language pathology and/or audiology. Graduate refers to post baccalaureate programs leading to a master's or doctoral degree, whether offered through graduate or professional schools.
The charge to the CAA by act of the Legislative Council (LC 26-94) is to:
- Formulate standards for the accreditation of graduate education programs that provide entry-level professional preparation in audiology or speech language pathology;
- Evaluate programs that voluntarily apply for accreditation;
- Grant certificates and recognize those programs deemed to have fulfilled requirements for accreditation;
- Maintain a registry of holders of such certificates;
- Prepare and furnish to appropriate persons and agencies lists of accredited programs.
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