Announcing the launch of ASHA’s Identify the Signs, a public education campaign broader in reach, scope, and array of ASHA member-oriented tools than anything we have done in the recent past.
Identify the Signs spotlights the importance of early detection of communication disorders and the ability of certified speech, language and hearing professionals to provide quality treatment and help. Altogether, it is a unique and promising opportunity for everyone in the ASHA community to be involved at every level, working in concert to raise the profile of our professions and most importantly, the needs of those we serve.
Nationally, the campaign features English and Spanish television, radio and print public service announcements that highlight the importance of early detection and encourage the public to learn the early warning signs. We also will engage broadcast, print and digital media outlets to bolster the campaign and direct the public to our new campaign website, IdentifyTheSigns.org. The website has helpful, easy to understand information about the early warning signs of communication disorders that will enable the public identify potential communication issues and seek treatment.
But here is a truly exciting part: Identify the Signs is designed to be equally active and effective at the grassroots. In the coming months, outreach to local media markets will be conducted, and we anticipate that it will result in opportunities to feature ASHA members. In recent years, numerous members have been very effective media sources and our new campaign represents a golden opportunity to increase the number who serve in that role, spreading the word about our discipline and the important work we do. Interested ASHA members are invited to indicate their interest by sending in a brief email to email@example.com. They will then be contacted as appropriate media opportunities arise.
Apart from that, there are a variety of campaign assets for ASHA members to use to raise awareness in their practices, their schools and their wider communities. Along with the public-focused website, ASHA has developed a member toolkit that includes print and digital posters, social media badges and more to educate people about the early warning signs of communication disorders and highlight speech-language and hearing professionals as the best sources for treatment. Also, products and brochures that complement the campaign are now available in the ASHA store.
We encourage ASHA members to visit the campaign site and use the outreach tools there in their communities. They are also invited to send feedback about the campaign, its resources, and their involvement to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Identify the Signs effort will extend over the next year, and such input will be helpful guidance for the future.
Patty Prelock, PhD, CCC-SLP, is the current president of ASHA and the dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences and professor of communication sciences and disorders at the University of Vermont. email@example.com.