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Elaine Paden
Elaine Pagel Paden co-wrote the first book on phonological approaches to treatment for highly unintelligible children

Fairbanks and Paden brought rigor to ASHA journals and credibility to SHS


From Johnson to Fairbanks,
Yes, let us all shout.
We now can forget
What semantic’s about…

For mere words and bandiage,
We’ll now take advantage
Of dials and meters
And stuff.

ASHA’s First Journal

This ode, written by D.W. Morris and quoted in Elaine Pagel Paden’s book “History of the American Speech and Hearing Association, 1925-1958,” was an introduction to Grant Fairbanks when he was selected as the third editor of the Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders in 1948 (succeeding Wendell Johnson). It was the field’s first professional/scientific journal and the only journal of the American Speech and Hearing Association. Before Fairbanks’ tenure as editor, the journal had resembled, in part, a newsletter or trade journal for the nascent association and field more than the top-quality scientific journal he envisioned. All that was about to change.

Fairbanks was named professor of speech and director of a new Speech Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois in 1948. The laboratory gained renown for technical research, and students earned the first doctoral degrees in speech and hearing science bestowed by Illinois, going on to significantly influence the field. 

Whereas previous editors of JSHD were clinicians, Fairbanks, an expert in experimental phonetics, was the first research scientist to serve as editor. As such, he brought to the journal an ironclad devotion to science and determination to make it a rigorous scholarly publication and solidify ASHA as a credible organization. In her book, Paden noted the “razor-sharp intellect of Grant Fairbanks slashing directly at the core of the issue” during discussions at association business meetings. Fairbanks and his colleague Raymond Carhart were described as “clear-headed organizers” for the association’s new membership plan in 1950 and “forceful representatives of the research scientists and the audiologists, respectively.” This matched Fairbanks’ drive at Illinois as a teacher, researcher and mentor. The national impact and profile of the newly minted Department of Speech increased considerably after World War II, thanks in large part to his work and that of colleagues such as Paden.

As editor of JSHD, Fairbanks immediately shared the journal’s editorial work with a staff of five associate editors. Their work became truly editorial, aiding authors in crafting articles and carefully screening submissions to maintain a standard of excellence. Paden joined the editorial staff in 1949. The journal found its scholarly voice, based on what SHS Associate Professor Emerita Cynthia Johnson Parsons called, “a backbone of science.” With its headquarters at the University of Illinois, the university provided staff financial and logistical support for the journal, expanding the Department of Speech’s influence in speech and hearing science. 

Fairbanks and Paden

Fairbanks brought prior experience as a consulting or associate editor for the Quarterly Journal of Speech and other journals to his editorial position at JSHD, which he held from 1949-54. In 1955, he received ASHA’s Honors of the Association for his exemplary service and high-quality research, a testament to his crucial role in the association and the profession. Among his many accomplishments, Fairbanks was famous for his widely used textbook, “Voice and Articulation Drillbook, Second Edition,” published in 1960 by Harper and Row. Fairbanks left Illinois in 1962 to take a director of research position in California. Parsons summarized Fairbanks’ leadership at the journal and Illinois as “a powerful force as we grew our field from scratch.” 

Paden served on the editorial staff of JSHD for Fairbanks’ entire tenure as editor. She joined the Illinois faculty in 1952, working in phonetics and phonology and serving as acting head of the Department of Speech and Hearing Science from 1979-81. At Illinois, Paden was a forerunner in child phonology and its extension to intervention for speech disorders, helping preschoolers acquire speech sounds. Her work influenced clinical education in communication sciences and disorders at many of the top university programs throughout the country. Paden also helped establish the annual Midwestern Child Phonology Conference (now the International Child Phonology Conference) and interviewed pioneers in the field for ASHA’s archives and her 1970 book.

SHS Professor Emeritus Ehud Yairi said, "Paden pioneered research in normal child phonological development as well as in clinical methods applied to child phonological disorders.” He noted that she developed the earliest course dedicated to the topic. “Her work greatly altered the traditional concept of ‘articulation disorders," he said.

Later, in collaboration with her former student, Professor Barbara Williams Hodson, Paden wrote the first book on phonological approaches to treatment for highly unintelligible children. Hodson and Paden’s “Targeting Intelligible Speech: A Phonological Approach to Remediation, Second Edition (1991)” has had a far-reaching and enduring impact. In the preface, the authors thanked Grant Fairbanks, writing that his "teaching and research have had a lasting influence on our thinking."

In the early 1980s, Parsons was on faculty with Paden. “I used this book all the years I taught SHS 430 Development and Disorders of Phonology and Articulation, from Elaine’s retirement until my last semester of teaching before my own retirement, in the spring of 2021,” Parsons said.

Yairi first met Paden at the 1976 ASHA convention in Houston, when she interviewed him for his faculty position at Illinois.

“As I gradually built and expanded my research work into the Illinois International Stuttering Research Program, Elaine joined us and became an important member of the team,” Yairi said, adding that they co-authored several scientific articles and book chapters on the relation between stuttering and phonological disorders.

In 1993, Paden received both the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology at the University of Iowa and Honors of the Association from ASHA, the highest award in the field.

From One Journal to Many  

At its 1957 convention, ASHA’s Executive Council decided to split the content of JSHD into two journals, retaining JSHD and founding a new journal, the Journal of Speech and Hearing Research. JSHR was devoted to basic research in speech and hearing processes, while JSHD focused on clinical research. The first issue of JSHR was published in March 1958. It included “Effects of Delayed Auditory Feedback Upon Articulation,” written by Fairbanks and Newman Guttman, a researcher at Bell Laboratories who got his Ph.D. at Illinois. Subsequent issues of JSHR were filled with articles written by and with scholarly attribution to department graduates. 

The two journals were merged into one in 1991 under the JSHR title, with the name changed to The Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research in 1997. There are six significant journals in speech and hearing sciences now—including The American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and the American Journal of Audiology—no doubt a reflection of Fairbanks’ and Paden’s impact on ASHA’s first journal, with their firm commitment to straightforward facts, accuracy and scientific detail.

“I was a graduate student when the decision was made to consolidate JSHD and JSHR and create two new publications to disseminate work with direct clinical relevance," said Professor and SHS Department Head Pamela Hadley. "These journals showcased cutting-edge clinical research studies and experimented with exciting and highly readable new formats such as tutorials and expert opinions. AJSLP and AJA remain critically important today for introducing best practices to graduate students and helping practicing clinicians stay up to date.”

In her book, Paden wrote “one of the chief reasons for the existence of a professional or learned society is the sharing of knowledge in the field among its members.” With the launch of its first journal, “not only was the status of the association notably increased, but its membership rolls began an accelerated upward surge which must be attributed, at least in part, to the reputation of the journal.“ 

In its 50th anniversary year, the Department of Speech and Hearing Science is proud to claim a seminal role in the establishment of the journals in the field, through the hard work and dedication of its pioneering faculty, Professors Fairbanks and Paden.

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