Thursday, June 10, 2010

Support Peter's petition for more responsible marketing

If you are a person who stutters, a speech-language pathologist or speech therapist, a member of ASHA, a parent of a child who stutters, or anyone else who cares about these issues, please support this petition and contact Peter Reitzes to have your name put on.

ASHA Needs to Actively Enforce its Code of Ethics

Arlene A. Pietranton, Executive Director
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.

ASHA could not be clearer in its intention to protect consumers. Principle of Ethics I, Rule J states that “Individuals shall not guarantee the results of any treatment or procedure, directly or by implication.”

However, such promises of specific outcomes in stuttering are widespread.

Some websites of ASHA members market their treatment of stuttering with statements like “12 Days to Fluent Speech,” “discover how to stop stuttering,” and “You'll no longer fear social functions, avoid ordering food at a drive through, or keep quiet when you really want to speak out” (see appendix).

Such advertisements clearly violate ethical and professional conduct as intended by ASHA. These promises provide people who stutter and their families with unrealistic outcomes and they also mislead professionals and the public into believing in the availability of a quick fix for stuttering. Such claims are hurtful to both consumers and professionals.

Unfortunately, ASHA does not actively enforce compliance with its ethics code regarding advertising outcomes. If ASHA credentials are to have any meaning, they must represent not just knowledge and skill, but also the ethics required to protect consumers and the public by action and not just by words.

Most members of ASHA do not have the time to spend dozens of hours filling out ethical complaint forms, calling and writing letters to members who may be in violation of the Code of Ethics and cannot afford to fight off frivolous lawsuits that may result from pursuing ethical concerns. Yet ASHA reported in 2007 having more than 106 million dollars in total assets. Clearly ASHA has the resources, the power and the structure, if it has the interest, resolve and determination, to enforce its own Code of Ethics.

We, the signatories, petition ASHA to implement procedures to encourage compliance with its ethics policy regarding comments by clinicians advertising the outcome of their therapy procedures. Specifically, ASHA could confidentially review public marketing statements used by members after being made anonymously aware by members or the public. Following a preliminary check, the statement(s) in question could then be referred to ASHA's ethics committee for review and the committee could decide explicitly and in writing whether they violate our Code of Ethics with regard to promising outcomes.

ASHA's officers and ethics committee have a responsibility for enforcing the basic principles of ethical conduct by clinicians who promise uniformly successful outcomes. Any marketing and advertising statements made by ASHA members that have the potential to mislead our patients and clients should not be tolerated. Enforcing our standards and ethics in advertising helps us to elevate our commitment to those we serve. ASHA’s current “buyer beware” approach towards the marketing done by its members is not in the best interest of consumers, the public and the professions.

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;


After doing a Google search on the word “stuttering,” in the sponsored links section one of the first results returned says “12 Days to Fluent Speech.” Under this search result it says “Eastern Virginia Medical School. Board Recognized Fluency Specialist.” The link directs you to the website of Ross S. Barrett, M.A. CCC/SLP. The link for the site is

After doing a Google search on the term “stuttering therapy” one of the first search result states, “Stuttering help - discover how to stop stuttering - stuttering therapy that works.” The search result was for the website of Mark Power, MA CCC-SLP, Board Certified Fluency Specialist. The link for the site is

All of the following websites express identical wording promising the following outcome from therapy: “You'll no longer fear social functions, avoid ordering food at a drive through, or keep quiet when you really want to speak out." The links are


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

Ernie Canadeo
Board Chairman, National Stuttering Association

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

Gary J. Rentschler, Ph.D.  CCC-SLP
Board Recognized Fluency Specialist
Department of Speech-Language Pathology
Duquesne University

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

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

John A. Tetnowski, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, BRS/M-FD
Ben Blanco/BoRSF Endowed Professor in Communicative Disorders
University of Louisiana at Lafayette

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

Bill Murphy M.A. CCC-SLP
Clinical Professor
ASHA Fellow
Board Recognized Specialist in Fluency Disorders
Dept. of Speech, Language, Hearing Sciences
Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN

Charlie Osborne, M.A., CCC-SLP
Assistant Clinical Professor
Center for Communicative Disorders
University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point

Kim Krieger MS, CCC-SP
Board Recognized Specialist-Fluency Disorders
Director of the Successful Stuttering Management Program and SLP for the Mead School District

Adriana DiGrande, MS, CCC-SP
Board Recognized Specialist-Fluency Disorders
Director, New England Fluency Program
Lexington, MA

Tom Weidig, Ph.D.
The Stuttering Brain Blog
Former Trustee of British Stammering Association (BSA)
Former Chair of the BSA Research Committee

Leys Geddes
Chair, British Stammering Association

Russ Hicks
Person Who Stutters (significantly)
Member of the National Stuttering Association
Distinguished Toastmaster
Toastmasters International
Retired Computer Systems Consultant
Texas Instruments Incorporated
Dallas, Texas

Cathy Olish
Person Who Stutters
Member, National Stuttering Association
National Stuttering Association Board of Director
Co-Chapter Leader for the Royal Oak NSA Adult and Kids/TWST Chapters
Co-founder, Covert Stuttering Email Group

Eric Jackson, M.S.
Co-host: StutterTalk podcast
Adjunct Assistant Professor - Long Island University

Uri Schneider, MA, CCC-SLP
Schneider Speech Pathology

Andrew Floyd, MA CCC-SLP
SLP and Person Who Stutters

Nina Ghiselli, Psy.D., Psychologist
Person Who Stutters
Co-chapter Leader, National Stuttering Association

No comments: