A word about the history of Speech Pathology in Australia
It’s Friday afternoon and here in Australia, we are heading into a well deserved long weekend. After all, we’ve been back at work for all of 3 weeks.
The reason for the long weekend is that we have ‘Australia Day’ on Sunday. While Australia Day is somewhat controversial, it is at least an opportunity to reflect on Australia’s history. As a speech pathologist, I thought it would be a good opportunity to have a look at the history of Speech Pathology in Australia: Who was the first speech pathologist? What was scope of the profession?
Speech Pathology Australia has done most of the work in researching and collating the history of the profession. In fact, if you go to this link here (courtesy of SPA) you will find a three part ‘Oral History of Speech Pathology in Australia’ (there are some great pictures too) Most of this history I did not know, so reading the stories of those who ‘pioneered’ the work of this profession in Australia is quite inspiring. Here are a couple of the highlights from the recorded history:
- The first speech pathology clinic was in Sydney. It opened in 1931 at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. Miss Elinor Wray was the speech pathologist in charge.
- In 1944 The Australian Association of Speech Therapists was founded in Sydney. Shortly thereafter, in 1949, the Australian College of Speech Therapists was founded (later became the Australian Association of Speech and Hearing)
- First Annual General Meeting (AGM) held 12 March 1955 at Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children, Camperdown, Sydney.
- 1967 saw the first Speech Therapy degree course in Australia commenced at the University of Queensland.
- In 1974, the profession title, “Speech Therapist” was changed to “Speech Pathologist”.
- In 1996 The Speech Pathology Association held the first Speech Pathology Week. This aimed to increase the profile of the profession.
- Also in 1996, a vote was held to change the name AASH to the Speech Pathology Association of Australia, otherwise known as Speech Pathology Australia.
- In 2000, the Professional Self Regulation (PSR) program was introduced.
- The Scope of Practice of Australian Speech Pathology was developed in 2002.
Speech Pathology in Australia
The profession continues to develop both at a systemic and clinical level. As technology and transport options increase in availability and ease, many Australian speech pathologists are now travelling far and wide to support other countries in developing the speech pathology profession – essentially, working with a new generation of speech pathology pioneers. In so doing, thousands of people are able to enhance their quality of life through improved communication and overall health. For speech pathologists, this is what it’s all about.
Contact us for results focused speech therapy
This article was written by our speech pathologist Jenna Butterworth who is a Speech Pathology Australia member.
If you have questions about early childhood communication, contact your local doctor who will arrange for you to see a speech pathologist. We‘ll provide you with a simple, efficient and very effective routine targeted to your concerns.
For more information about Speech Pathology in Australia see the Speech Pathology Australia website click here.