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  1. Butler, Katharine G. PhD

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Think before you speak, pronounce not imperfectly nor bring out your words too hastily, but orderly & distinctly.


-George Washington (1732-1799)


This issue of Topics in Language Disorders deals with the successes and disappointments in meeting the challenges facing those engaged in providing both research and services to those unable to meet the standards espoused by George Washington well before he became president. At age 14 he is said to have written 110 rules, beginning with: "Every action done in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are present" (Washington, 1988). It is safe to say that this George never attended an IEP meeting, or even presidential primaries.


The issue editors, Carolyn and Larry Higdon, have straighforwardedly addressed, with the assistance of their authors-who represent a multitude of strong opinions-a variety of concerns. Most professionals are aware that there is considerable interest in the direction of evidence-based practice (EBP). The objectives of this issue may be found at the close of this journal's issue.


It is undoubtedly wise to expand your knowledge regarding EBP. As you may have observed, the topic is being addressed at several state association meetings in 2004 and can be found in recent texts and journals not only in our discipline, but also in others (e.g., rehabilitation, clinical psychology, medical science and practice) (see Simon, 2002; Torgeson, 2004).


Readers who work with patients with stroke may find it helpful to review two issues of TLD that provide evidence-based summaries of the rehabilitation literature (Teasell, 2003). In some of these journals, speech-language pathology performance is also critiqued, along with physical and occupational therapy. It appears that a number of disciplines are also dealing with the issues surrounding EBP.


A number of the authors in this issue speak to the necessity of recognizing the role to be played by augmentative and alternative communication user and the parents and family. Shellenbarger (2003) addresses the difficulties of parents in planning for the future. This, or course, has been central to many special education personnel and others who are committed to family-based services. Shellenbarger provides a current update. She begins with an example:


Ever since he began talking, Joan White's son Michael, now 20, and is disabled and unable to read or write, has been begging her regularly for one reassurance: Mommy, say you will never die[horizontal ellipsis]. Michael's disabilities, including cerebral palsy, retardation, and epilepsy, prevent him from holding a job[horizontal ellipsis].


Shellenbarger provides a


head's up to the parents of the 8.5 million disabled children and young adults, noting that the average life span of a Down syndrome child has doubled to 50 years from 25 years in a single generation, outliving their children by decades.


Readers will find useful information and resources, as well as financial and care planning for their disabled child, on the Internet.


I close with a few comments from a youthful George Washington's text entitled Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior, drawn from an English translation of a French text of maxims that reflect George Washington's interest in how to treat others in social relations. His eighty-eighth rule is: "Be not tedious in discourse, make not many digressions, nor repeat often the same manner of discourse," follows the seventieth, which is: "Gaze not on the imperfections of others, for that belongs to parents, masters, and superiors" (pp. 23, 26).


Since Washington, we have elected other Georges. Our current George supports the No Child Left Behind effort. We await the outcome.




Shellenbarger, S. (2003). Lessons in letting go: How parents of disabled children plan for the future. The Wall Street Journal, May 29, D1. [Context Link]


Simon, C. C. (2002, September 2). A change of mind thanks to managed care, evidence-based practice and changing ideas about behavior. Cognitive therapy is the talking cure of the moment. The Washington Post, September 4, H1. [Context Link]


Teasell, R. W. (2003). Stroke rehabilitation evidence-based review: Part II. Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation, 10, v-140. [Context Link]


Torgeson, K. (2004, January 24). Setting new goals for reading interventions: Evidence from research. Presentation before the International Dyslexia Association, Menlo Park, CA. [Context Link]


Washington, G. (1988). George Washington's rules of civility & decent behaviour in company and conversation. Belford, MA: Applewood Books, pp. 1-30. [Context Link]