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History of ASHA

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is the nation's leading professional, credentialing, and scientific organization for audiologists, speech-language pathologists, speech, language, and hearing scientists, audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel, and students. ASHA has been the leader of these professions for almost 100 years, initiating the development of national standards for audiologist and speech-language pathologist 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, in 1927 to the American Society for the Study of Disorders of Speech, in 1934 to the American Speech Correction Association, in 1947  to the American Speech and Hearing Association, and in 1978 to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

ASHA has grown exponentially since its inception—from 25 charter members in the beginning to 223,000 members in 2021. 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, Maryland in 2007. ASHA's National Office is a LEED-certified green building—the first nonprofit company building with that distinction in Maryland.

In addition to ASHA's mission of empowering and supporting audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists, ASHA is also committed to providing a positive and nurturing environment for its employees. ASHA works to promote and celebrate diversity both in the National Office and throughout our membership. In 2018 we received the Diversity Champion Award from the Alliance for Workplace Excellence and 2015 we were recognized for providing Best Practices Supporting Workers of All Abilities. ASHA has also 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 Vicki R. Deal-Williams, MA, CCC-SLP, FASAE, CAE. To date, ASHA has approximately 293 employees at its National Office.

ASHA Corporate Partners