Friday, January 22, 2010

Petition ASHA for fairer marketing!

If you wish to sign the petition, please send an email to Peter Reitzes, MA CCC-SLP - Please include your name and credentials exactly as you wish them to appear on the petition.

If you want more information on this topic, the issues were discussed in detail during the StutterTalk podcast, episode 173. In the notes of that episode are many pertinent links.

Please feel free to share the petition with your colleagues and others who may be interested in signing the petition.

Thank you for your consideration,

Peter Reitzes, MA CCC-SLP
Co-host, podcast

David R. Denton, JD, MA, CCC-SLP, ASHA Fellow
Director of Ethics
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
2200 Research Blvd., Mail Stop #309
Rockville, MD   20850-3289


We, the signatories, petition the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) to rigorously enforce compliance to its self-imposed Code of Ethics. In the preamble to ASHA’s Code of Ethics, the organization states that “The preservation of the highest standards of integrity and ethical principles is vital...” We agree. Therefore, we strongly urge ASHA to investigate:

  1. Whether Linda Bowers and Rosemary Huisingh, two ASHA certified speech-language pathologists and co-owners of LinguiSystems, violated the ASHA Code of Ethics with regards to the following rules under the Code of Ethics:

·         IH.  “Individuals shall not guarantee the results of any treatment or procedure, directly or by implication...”
·         IIID. “Individuals shall not misrepresent…products dispensed...”
·         IIIF. “Individuals' statements to the public…shall not contain misrepresentations.”

  1. Whether, in the case described below, ASHA has adhered fully to its own Code of Ethics as it relates to relationships that the organization has with publishers, vendors and continuing education providers, as well as how ASHA accepts advertising of products and services for inclusion in its publications. 


LinguiSystems is advertising materials for stuttering therapy with an “Outcomes Guaranteed” statement claiming that the materials are “guaranteed to work.” For example, the LinguiSystems product:

·         “Fluency Card Games” is promoted with a “guaranteed outcome” to “Speak Confidently” and
·         “Easy Does It® for Fluency: Preschool/Primary” is promoted with guaranteed outcomes to “Maintain fluency in increasingly longer utterances” and to “Use easy speech in real-life speaking situations.”

Promises of cures in stuttering are widespread. Misleading advertisements and promotions not only provide people who stutter and their families with a false sense of hope not supported by evidence-based practice, but they may also mislead professionals and the public into believing that a “quick fix” is readily available for stuttering as well as other communication disorders if the appropriate materials or devices are used. ASHA must uphold the highest standards to protect customers from unethically aggressive advertising.

It is important to note that ASHA and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation both receive revenue from LinguiSystems. For example, The ASHA Leader runs LinguiSystems advertisements, LinguiSystems is a vendor at ASHA conventions, LinguiSystems is an ASHA- approved continuing education provider and LinguiSystems donates tens of thousands of dollars (if not more) to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation. In addition, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation website prominently displays and promotes the LinguiSystems logo and website.

It is our strong belief that ASHA has a responsibility to open an inquiry into the issues raised in this letter and to create policy and oversight procedures to uphold the organization’s own ethical standards.

We look forward to a timely response to these concerns, addressed to the corresponding authors below, Peter Reitzes and Phil Schneider (338 14th St. Apt. 1L Brooklyn, NY 11215;

Peter Reitzes, MA CCC-SLP
Co-host, StutterTalk Podcast

Phil Schneider, Ed.D. CCC-SLP
Board Recognized Fluency Specialist
Associate Professor Emeritus, Queens College, City University of New York
National Stuttering Association Speech Pathologist of the Year, 2004

Jane Fraser,
President, Stuttering Foundation of America

Nan Bernstein Ratner, Ed.D. CCC
Professor and Chair, Dept HESP, University of Maryland
Past Coordinator, ASHA Special Interest Division 4, Fluency and Fluency Disorders
Co-author, Bloodstein and Bernstein Ratner, A Handbook on Stuttering, 6th edition (2008)

Barry Guitar, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Professor Communication Sciences; Adjunct Professor of Psychology and Education
University of Vermont
Author of Stuttering: An Integrated Approach to Its Nature and Treatment and Co-Editor of Treatment of Stuttering: Established and Emerging Interventions

Walt Manning, Ph.D.
Professor & Associate Dean
School of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology
The University of Memphis
Memphis Speech & Hearing Center

Patricia M. Zebrowski, Ph.D., CCC-SP
Board Recognized Fluency Specialist
Dept. Communication Sciences and Disorders
University of Iowa

Gerald A. Maguire, M.D.
Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry
Kirkup Endowed Chair in Stuttering Treatment
Senior Associate Dean, Educational Affairs
University of California, Irvine School of Medicine

Lisa A. Scott, PhD CCC-SLP
Assistant Professor and Associate Director of Clinical Education
The Florida State University
Vice President for Education, Stuttering Foundation of America
Consultant, Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration - Bureau of Medicaid Services

Peter R. Ramig, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Board Recognized Fluency Specialist
Department of Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences
University of Colorado

Sheryl R. Gottwald, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Assistant Professor, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH
Coordinator, Division 4, Fluency and Fluency Disorders
Co-author, Stuttering Prevention and Early Intervention

Robert W. Quesal, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, BRS-FD
ASHA Fellow
Vice-Chair for Speech-Language Pathology, Council on Academic Accreditation
Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Western Illinois University
Macomb, IL

Joseph Donaher Ph.D., CCC/SLP
Board Recognized Specialist in Fluency Disorders
Coordinator of the Stuttering Program,  The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania, Medical School
Steering Committee Member, Division 4, Fluency and Fluency Disorders
Member, 2008 Leadership Development Program, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Lee Caggiano, M.A. C.C.C.
Board Recognized Specialist and Mentor in Fluency Disorders
Director - Stuttering Therapy and Resource Center of Long Island
Co-Founder/Director of Friends: The National Assoc. of Young People Who Stutter
Adjunct Professor,- New York University, Queens College and C.W. Post University

Gary J. Rentschler, Ph.D.  CCC-SLP

Board Recognized Specialist - Fluency Disorders
Department of Speech-Language Pathology
Duquesne University

Dale F. Williams, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, BRS-FD
Chair, Specialty Board on Fluency Disorders
Professor and Director of the Fluency Clinic
Florida Atlantic University
Author, Stuttering Recovery: Personal and Empirical Perspectives

Bill Murphy M.A. CCC-SLP
Clinical Professor
ASHA Fellow
Board Recognized Specialist in Fluency Disorders

Catherine S. Montgomery, MS,CCC-SLP,BRS-FD
Founder & Executive Director
The American Institute for Stuttering Treatment & Professional Training 
A Non Profit Organization
New York

Chamonix Olsen, M.S., CCC-SLP
Board Recognized Specialist in Fluency Disorders
SRP Coordinator, Specialty Board on Fluency Disorders

Judith Maginnis Kuster M.S. CCC-SLP
Professor, Minnesota State University, Mankato
ASHA Fellow
Board Recognized Specialist - Fluency Disorders
The Stuttering Home Page webweaver

Michael Sugarman
Co-Founder of the National Stuttering Project (now the National Stuttering Association)

Leys Geddes
Chair, British Stammering Association

Tom Weidig, Ph.D.
The Stuttering Brain Blog

Former Trustee of British Stammering Association (BSA)
Former Chair of the BSA Research Committee

Taro Alexander
Founder & Director, Our Time