May 20, 2020
(Rockville, MD) Inspiration. Champion. Role model. Over the course of years, such words have been used frequently at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) to describe Annie Glenn, who passed away this week.
Glenn’s involvement with ASHA dated from the 1980s. To the present day, the organization’s leading public honor is the Annie Glenn Award, which recognizes individuals who help foster understanding and awareness of persons with communication disorders.
“Annie was a pure joy to be with,” ASHA President Theresa H. Rodgers, MA, CCC-SLP, said. “For years and until relatively recently, she annually attended our Convention and participated in presenting the Annie Award. She always brought with her a large supply of uplifting words to share with everyone.”
Just last week, ASHA disseminated social media public service announcements that feature its current Annie Award recipient, Taro Alexander, a person who has dedicated his life to helping young people who stutter. Past recipients include actor James Earl Jones, musician Mick Fleetwood, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, and actresses Jane Seymour and Julie Andrews.
As a child, Glenn had a severe stutter, and she struggled with it for many years. However, after she received help as an adult, she became able to speak more fluently. She went on to dedicate her life to being a champion for persons with communication disorders and recognizing the work of the professionals who help them.
Her husband, the late astronaut John Glenn, was already a hero to many. That description soon got attached to Annie Glenn, as well. And although she didn’t travel to outer space like her husband, she certainly went in spirit: two years ago, ASHA arranged to have a miniature version of its Annie Award carried aboard a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) mission to the International Space Station. The development coincided with Better Hearing & Speech Month, a time of raising awareness of communication disorders, and served as one more dose of inspiration from Annie Glenn, who was by then in her late 90s.
“The world has lost a great individual,” ASHA President Rodgers added, “but she left us with a wonderful legacy of courage, strength, and caring that we will never forget.”
About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 211,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel; and students. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment, including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems, including swallowing disorders.