Female Pioneers in Speech-Language Pathology and Occupational Therapy
The history of speech-language pathology and occupational therapy is full of notable women. Here are just a few of the female pioneers who helped make the study of speech and occupational therapy what it is today.
Eleanor Clark Slagle
One cannot discuss the history of American occupational therapy without discussing Eleanor Clark Slagle. Often called “The Mother of Modern Speech Therapy,” Eleanor Clark Slagle was one of the first proponents of the healing powers of occupational therapy and speech therapy. Eleanor Clark Slagle got a degree in social work from Johns Hopkins University in 1912, no small feat for a time when women were actively discouraged from seeking higher education.
Eleanor Clark Slagle did not stop there, but went on to direct the Johns Hopkins department of occupational therapy as well as occupational therapy research for the State of Illinois. Eleanor Clark Slagle is one of the founding members of The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), and served as its president from 1919-1920. To this day she is remembered through the Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lectureship Award, given to members of the AOTA for outstanding achievement in the world of Occupational Therapy and Speech Pathology.