A Meme’s Eye View of Speech-Language Pathology In this article, the reason why certain terms, labels, and ideas prevail, whereas others fail to gain acceptance, will be considered. Borrowing the concept of "meme" from the study of evolution of ideas, it will be clear why language-based and phonological disorders have less widespread appeal than, for example, auditory ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 2004
A Meme’s Eye View of Speech-Language Pathology
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Alan G. Kamhi
    Northern Illinois University, DeKalb
  • Contact author: Alan G. Kamhi, Department of Communicative Disorders, North Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115.
    Contact author: Alan G. Kamhi, Department of Communicative Disorders, North Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115.×
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: akamhi@niu.edu
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Hearing Disorders / Language Disorders / Reading & Writing Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 2004
A Meme’s Eye View of Speech-Language Pathology
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2004, Vol. 35, 105-111. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2004/012)
History: Received September 11, 2003 , Accepted October 21, 2003
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2004, Vol. 35, 105-111. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2004/012)
History: Received September 11, 2003; Accepted October 21, 2003

In this article, the reason why certain terms, labels, and ideas prevail, whereas others fail to gain acceptance, will be considered. Borrowing the concept of "meme" from the study of evolution of ideas, it will be clear why language-based and phonological disorders have less widespread appeal than, for example, auditory processing and sensory integration disorders. Discussion will also center on why most speech-language pathologists refer to themselves as speech therapists or speech pathologists, and why it is more desirable to have dyslexia than to have a reading disability. In a meme’s eye view, science and logic do not always win out because selection favors ideas (memes) that are easy to understand, remember, and copy. An unfortunate consequence of these selection forces is that successful memes typically provide superficially plausible answers for complex questions.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I would like to thank Jody Newman-Ryan and Susan Nittrouer for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper.
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