Speech pathologists have been under increasing pressure to verify the value and benefits of their services. As with any product or service clients want to be assured that there can be measurable results. With verifiable results, assessment and remedial improvement is more likely to occur and the SLP can demonstrate the value of their service.
Dr. Fletcher dedicated his life to developing computer based technology that could help turn phonetic actions into visual as well as aural patterns. During his 56 years of teaching and research he conceptualized a number of instruments, including the palatometer, nasometer, and an acoustic analyzer for normal and abnormal speech assessment and remediation.
During his teaching career he guided technical teams in Utah, New Mexico and Alabama in developing and validating these instruments for their experimental and clinical utility for Speech and Language Pathology. The teams efforts were rewarded by speech clinicians being able to serve children and adults with deafness, palatal clefts, speech articulation, swallowing, neurological and other communication disorders. These scientific innovations translated into practical applications. The biological complexities of communication normality and disorders could now be exposed and unraveled with assessment, remediation and self esteem raised. The dream to be able to document, differentiate, and change communicative disorders was being realized through this new assistive technology.
Dr. Fletcher served in the Office of Naval Intelligence, completed his B.S. degree at Utah State University, taught elementary and secondary school children in Idaho and Utah, and served as a principal. He received his M.S. in speech pathology, audiology and anatomy from the University of Utah in 1957 and his doctoral degree "with distinction" in 1958. During his pre- and postgraduate training he served as a research fellow in the University of Utah’s Pediatrics department then as a U.S. Public Health Service postdoctoral and special research fellow at the University of Oregon Medical Center. During his fellowships he was uncomfortable with the need to judge nasality perceptually and took the first steps toward developing the nasometer.
In 1962 Dr. Fletcher was appointed Associate Professor of Speech and Director of the Speech and Hearing Center at Utah State University and developed a new Audiology-Speech Pathology department. In 1968 he became the Director of Speech Pathology and Audiology at the University of New Mexico then in 1970 moved to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Medical Center. There he served as Professor and Chair of the new department of Biocommunication which he helped form. He also served as Director of the Biocommunication Research Lab in the UAB Schools of Medicine and Dentistry. During this time, he was the principal investigator on a number of research grants. These endeavors led to four U.S. patents, patents pending and several others in the planning stage. Dr. Fletcher has authored or co-authored four technical reports, six books, 15 chapters in various books, and more than 80 articles in peer-reviewed journals and presented seminars to many professional groups and associations. Currently, he is a Professor Emeritus at UAB, a Permanent Visiting Professor at the University of Indonesia School of Medicine, and an Adjunct Research Professor in the Department of Communication Disorders at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
Dr. Fletcher served as a journal and NIH reviewer on topics dealing with normal and abnormal speech, swallowing structure and function, oral anatomy and physiology, and instruments and procedures for speech pathology assessment and modification. He also received numerous science and clinical honors and awards and appointments to various panels, advisory committees and boards, and has been listed in American Men & Women of Science, Who's Who in Technology Today, etc. Additionally, he was elected as president of the Utah and the Alabama Speech and Hearing Associations. He was recognized as the Featured Scientist for a PBS documentary, called “Discover the World of Science,” that focused on using the new palatometer and procedures he had developed to teach speech to deaf children. He is now a Fellow in ASHA and is receiving Honors of the Association.
Dr. Fletcher founded CompleteSpeech to fulfill his dream for a better way to assist countless individuals in overcoming the burdens of speech impairment. He currently resides in Utah with his wife Barbara of 40 years. The Fletcher’s passion has extended to their children who also follow the dream of assisting their fellow man.
Fletcher, Samuel G. (1992). Articulation A Physiological Approach. San Diego, California: Singular Publishing Group, Inc.