“The Association seemed to have been created to permit annual arguments about stuttering.”
-Martin Palmer, A History of the American Speech and Hearing Association 1925-1958, 1970
Early conventions were heavily focused on the area of stuttering. Approximately 200 papers were presented on the subject between the first and 30th convention. The 1930 convention was devoted entirely to stuttering with thirty recognized authorities from within the Association and outside of it appearing in a first ever symposium. Dr. Charles Van Riper attended this convention as a young man hoping to hear a cure for his own stuttering. He recalled twenty years later, as a speaker at the 1950 convention, that there had been much debate, arguing and discussion during that symposium, but “ that the spirit of challenge and proof entered the field of speech and hearing that day and that the profession had found its foundation in research.”
It was not until after WWII that presentations on hearing and hearing disorders became common subjects. Veterans returning from the war with hearing loss and disorders spurred interest and development in audiology as a profession, which was evident by the increasing presenters on the subject.
Another change from earlier conventions was the shift from clinically oriented papers to research oriented papers. The 1950s saw a steady growth in the number of papers classified as research focused as opposed to clinically oriented.
The 1946 convention was the first at which two sessions were held concurrently. Up until this time, the limited number of presentations had allowed members to attend all. The convention held in Chicago in 1926, in conjunction with NATS, consisted of only seven papers, but as the Association grew along with the number of presentations, it became impossible to attend all sessions. By the 1970s, the number of concurrent sessions had grown to more than a dozen.