A picture is worth a thousand words!

By Judith Maginnis Kuster

Many years ago an advertising executive for Royal Baking Powder developed an ad he hoped would sell that product. Instead he coined a phrase that has become familiar everywhere - "A picture is worth one thousand words." The ad he developed was a boy's smiling face with a Chinese saying underneath. The advertising executive apparently thought that his company would sell more baking powder if the wisdom of Chinese philosophy supported his claims. The executive wrongly translated the phrase. It literally says "A picture's meaning can express 10 thousand words." (http://commfaculty.fullerton.edu/lester/writings/1000_words.html).

The Internet provides visual opportunities for our clients, our students, and ourselves as we continue life-long learning. Several interesting examples are highlighted below. But, first , a proviso: The Internet is a very sharing community, with many materials that can enhance our teaching and learning. Although it may be temmpting, it would be considered a potential copyright infrigement to copy pictures from the Internet to use in another publication or handout without permission. Check with the owners of the material if you have questions.

Pictures by our clients

The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion features tobacco information and prevention information including "You Smoke, You Choke Artwork" by students from Yavapai County, Arizona. These pictures can perhaps inspire poster contests in other school districts.

Drawings also provide opportunity for our clients to share information they may be unable to put into words, and can serve as powerful teaching tools for those who view them. Anders Lundberg, a clinical psychologist, uses artwork with children who stutter. And although it is important to remember that art therapy is a credentialled field and requires special training, a unique "gallery" drawn by children and teenagers who stutter provides insight into what it feels like to stutter and depicts changes in attitude during therapy.

Art galleries are also online from other clients served by speech-language pathologists and audiologists. Exploring them often provides new insight into those we serve.

Pictures to enhance our teaching and learning

I often want pictures to illustrate class lectures and the Internet is where I typically find them. A few examples are provided below.

Laurence Hilton and Frank Ayers provide an interesting illustration of a 6-year-old boy with a severe case of congenital ankyloglossia., Ankylogossia: Tongue Tie An illustrated clinical case study. The pictures, along with annotations, show pre-surgical and post-surgical illustrations.

The following two sites provide wonderful pictures of laryngeal pathology.

The Wide Smiles photo gallery contains several pictures of more than 130 different children with cleft lip/cleft palate, many showing examples of before and after surgeries.

In 1991 the National Library of Medicine awarded the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center a contract to make digital cross-sections of a 39-year-old convicted murderer who was executed by lethal injection in Texas and had donated his body to science. Later, a 59-year old Maryland woman who died of a heart attack, was added to the project of creating a "Visible Human Database.". The Stritch School of Medicine has placed online an interesting resource of cross-sectional images, MRI's and CT's from the Visible Human Project

Judith Kuster is in the department of speech, hearing, and rehabilitation services at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Contact her by email at judith.kuster@mnsu.edu. All of Kuster’s Internet columns are on the ASHA Web site in HTML format with active links http://professional.asha.org/news/news.cfm, although URLs change and there is no guarantee that links from previous articles are still functional.


Kuster, JM, A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words, ASHA Leader, June 24, 2003, p. 10