5 Ways to Raise Awareness of Our Professions for Better Hearing and Speech

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I will always be thankful for a young communication sciences and disorders (CSD) student who propelled me into my chosen career. Like many undergraduates, I spent part of my early college experience in a major that didn’t end up a “good fit.” At the moment I (finally) realized it wasn’t for me, I didn’t have a major to replace it. Fortunately, an acquaintance nudged me in the direction of speech-language pathology. Years later, there still hasn’t been a day I regretted my career choice.

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month. I enjoy seeing the creative things that our colleagues do to promote better communication. This month is also a great opportunity to promote the professions themselves! As ASHA’s membership grows, our ability to respond to communication disorders becomes stronger. This is particularly true as our professions grow in diversity and include a greater variety of perspectives. For this reason, one of the objectives listed in ASHA’s Strategic Pathway to Excellence is to increase the diversity of the association’s membership.

So what can we do to help people become interested in CSD? Many of us work right where these future professionals spend most of their day. Audiologists and speech-language pathologists working in schools enjoy prime opportunities to raise awareness. Those working in clinical or university settings also frequently encounter students, colleagues and even clients seeking advice about their future.

Here are a few ideas for making the most of opportunities for promoting our professions in our work settings:

  • Incorporate a discussion into an intervention activity. “What I want to be when I grow up,” for example, contains a lot of language skills for school-age kids.
  • Volunteer to give a guest presentation on acoustics in your school’s physics class, or on anatomy or physiology in your school’s biology class.
  • Organize or participate in a school career day or university career fair.
  • Relate your field to other activities! I’ve discussed language concepts needed for arithmetic at a school Math Night. AAC and audiometry are great topics for technology fairs.
  • Share information with your school’s guidance counselor or university career center.

ASHA also provides resources for helping us develop a discussion or presentation. These include:

May is a great time to focus on the future of communication sciences and disorders. As we raise awareness of the professions themselves—particularly among individuals from underrepresented communities—we invest in a stronger, more diverse ASHA and many Better Hearing and Speech Months to come.

 

Nate Cornish, MS, CCC-SLP, is a bilingual (English/Spanish) clinician and clinical director for VocoVision and Bilingual Therapies.  He is the professional development manager for ASHA Special Interest Group 18, Telepractice; a member of ASHA’s Multicultural Issues Board; and a past president of ASHA’s Hispanic Caucus. Cornish provides clinical support to monolingual and bilingual telepractitioners around the country. He also organizes and presents at various continuing education events, including an annual symposium on bilingualism.  Nathan.Cornish@Bilingualtherapies.com 

Tots as Young as 2 Use Tablets, and Parents Are Worried, ASHA Survey Finds

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A new ASHA survey of U.S. parents finds significant percentages reporting technology use by very young children. Additionally, more than half of the parents surveyed report feeling concern that technology use could negatively affect their young children’s ability to communicate.

Conducted this past March, the survey polled 1,000 parents of children ages 0 to 8. Its release occurs during May Is Better Hearing and Speech Month, a time for ASHA and its members to raise awareness of speech, language and hearing disorders—and spotlight the importance of communication health.

Although the fact that most children use “smart” technology today may not be surprising, just how early it begins may be. The survey results show that more than two-thirds of the respondents say their 2-year-olds are using tablets, more than half say they use smart phones, and one in four indicate their 2-year-olds are using some form of technology at the dinner table. All of this raises questions about how this tech use will affect children’s communication development.

Some findings from the survey:

  • 55 percent of parents have some degree of concern that misuse of technology may be harming their children’s hearing, and 52 percent have concerns about speech and language skills.
  • 52 percent  say they are concerned that technology negatively affects the quality of their conversations with their children; 54 percent say they are concerned that they have fewer conversations with their children than they would like to because of technology.
  • Parents recognize the potential hearing hazards of personal audio devices: 72 percent agree that loud noise from technology may lead to hearing loss in their children.
  • 24 percent of 2-year-olds use technology at the dinner table. By age 8, that percentage nearly doubles to 45 percent.
  • By age 6, 44 percent of kids would rather play a game on a technology device than read a book or be read to. By age 8, a majority would prefer that technology be present when spending time with a family member or friend.
  • More than half of parents say they use technology to keep kids ages 0 to 3 entertained; nearly 50 percent of parents of children age 8 report they often rely on technology to prevent behavior problems and tantrums.

These results present an opportunity to deliver communication health messages nationally and in our circles of influences and local communities. Earlier this month, ASHA shared the survey results with media around the country via a satellite media tour, and will continue to spread the word this month through social media. ASHA also has created new resources with a technology theme for its Identify the Signs public education campaign.

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Visit www.asha.org/bhsm to find resources you can use to reach out to the media and public in your community. There you will also find the full survey results.

Looking beyond Better Hearing and Speech Month, the summer presents an ideal time to continue to push out these messages. For instance, 55 percent of parents polled in the survey said their children age 8 or younger use technology during car trips. Members could present this statistic and note that this is an ideal time for a family to put the tech devices away and focus on communicating.

We hope members will find such information compelling and useful for building awareness of communication health; speech, language and hearing disorders; and the professionals—certified audiologists and speech-language pathologists—who are best educated and trained to address them.

 

Judith L. Page, PhD, CCC-SLP, is ASHA 2015 president. She served as program director for Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Kentucky for 17 years and as chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences for 10 years. judith.page@uky.edu

Join Us in ‘Speaking Up for Communication’ this May

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Each May, ASHA looks for new, exciting and effective ways to educate the public about communication disorders as part of Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM). We’re excited to announce that this year, we’re debuting a new social media platform for members to allow them to easily share BHSM information and build awareness at the grassroots level. Members who sign up for the service will receive two to three emails a week during May with suggested social media posts.

Those who participate by recruiting others and sharing links will be entered to win a range of prizes, including gift cards as well as BHSM and ASHA merchandise. It’s an easy and fun way for you to build awareness and support for your profession. Sign up today to join us in “Speaking Up for Communication.”

There will be plenty of interesting material to post, like the results of a new ASHA national survey. We asked parents of infants through 8-year-olds about their kids’ use of technology. According to those parents, a majority of young children use devices such as smartphones and tablets during critical years for communication development. Stay tuned for the results, which will be announced with a nationwide media tour starting May 8.

Those results will also serve as the basis for a host of different BHSM digital assets—helping ASHA bring the topic of communication to the forefront. Key messages include the importance of talking and interacting with kids in the tech age and establishing safe listening habits early. We expect significant buzz about the survey that should help you capitalize on sharing BHSM and related resources in your work and community.

Of course, if you prefer to spread these key messages in more traditional ways, ASHA will provide press release and media advisory templates. Be sure to visit the BHSM member resource page for these and more.

You’ll also find our free 2015 poster, bookmark, coloring page, and Facebook photo, for example. And you can read about how other members celebrate BHSM by clicking through our “Share Your Stories” map. We’ve already heard from a number of members with great stories for this year!

Make sure to keep checking back, as we’ll be adding details on other BHSM activities, including a 2015 Twitter party and a Listen to Your Buds concert we’re hosting in the nation’s capital.

Finally, remember to showcase your BHSM pride with our 2015 products, which feature the tagline “Early Intervention Counts”—a message worth sharing! Order today!

Francine Pierson is an ASHA public relations manager.

fpierson@asha.org.

 

Better Hearing & Speech Month Roundup–Week 5

Second place winner of the BHSM Drawing Contest--by Paul Gammaitoni, Age 7

Sadly, Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM) has come to a close! So many great posts, articles, events, tweets and stories shared–the messages will undoubtedly resound well beyond this one month. Here are just a few of the many great posts we noticed from this last week of BHSM:

  •  The Kansas Speech-Language-Hearing Association produced five podcasts in honor of BHSM examining issues relevant to SLPs and audiologists.
  • Even the Department of Defense’s Hearing Center of Excellence got involved in highlighting the importance of BHSM, sharing plans to embark on a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of noise later this year.
  • The Technology in (Spl) Education blog featured many SLP guest posts throughout May in honor of BHSM.
  • The Standford School of Medicine blog Hearing Loss Cure posted a great summary of  more BHSM efforts undertaken by various organizations, and reminded us of the importance of keeping the spirit of BHSM alive throughout the year.

Thanks again to all who commented on the week 1 , week 2 week 3 and week 4 roundup posts–please share any last BHSM blog posts and other resources in the comments.

 

Maggie McGary is the online community & social media manager at ASHA, and manages ASHAsphere.

Better Hearing & Speech Month Roundup–Week 5

Second place winner of the BHSM Drawing Contest--by Paul Gammaitoni, Age 7

Sadly, Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM) has come to a close! So many great posts, articles, events, tweets and stories shared–the messages will undoubtedly resound well beyond this one month. Here are just a few of the many great posts we noticed from this last week of BHSM:

  •  The Kansas Speech-Language-Hearing Association produced five podcasts in honor of BHSM examining issues relevant to SLPs and audiologists.
  • Even the Department of Defense’s Hearing Center of Excellence got involved in highlighting the importance of BHSM, sharing plans to embark on a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of noise later this year.
  • The Technology in (Spl) Education blog featured many SLP guest posts throughout May in honor of BHSM.
  • The Standford School of Medicine blog Hearing Loss Cure posted a great summary of  more BHSM efforts undertaken by various organizations, and reminded us of the importance of keeping the spirit of BHSM alive throughout the year.

Thanks again to all who commented on the week 1 , week 2 week 3 and week 4 roundup posts–please share any last BHSM blog posts and other resources in the comments.

 

Maggie McGary is the online community & social media manager at ASHA, and manages ASHAsphere.

Better Hearing & Speech Month Roundup–Week 4

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First place winner of the 2012 BHSM drawing contest--by Aiza Javaid, age 6

Closing in on the end of Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM) and it’s been amazing to see all the online buzz focused on hearing and speech! There have been hundreds of tweets, many blog posts, and equally many Facebook posts highlighting facts about BHSM. Here are just a few  of the many great posts we noticed from this past week:

Also, congratulations to the 2012 BHSM Drawing Contest winners! The drawing above was the first place winner, done by Aiza Javaid, age 6, from Aldie, Virginia.

Thanks to all who commented on the week 1 , week 2  and week 3 roundup posts–please continue to share other BHSM blog posts and other resources in the comments.

 

Maggie McGary is the online community & social media manager at ASHA, and manages ASHAsphere.

Better Hearing & Speech Month Roundup–Week 4

2012 bhsm drawing winner

First place winner of the 2012 BHSM drawing contest--by Aiza Javaid, age 6

Closing in on the end of Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM) and it’s been amazing to see all the online buzz focused on hearing and speech! There have been hundreds of tweets, many blog posts, and equally many Facebook posts highlighting facts about BHSM. Here are just a few  of the many great posts we noticed from this past week:

Also, congratulations to the 2012 BHSM Drawing Contest winners! The drawing above was the first place winner, done by Aiza Javaid, age 6, from Aldie, Virginia.

Thanks to all who commented on the week 1 , week 2  and week 3 roundup posts–please continue to share other BHSM blog posts and other resources in the comments.

 

Maggie McGary is the online community & social media manager at ASHA, and manages ASHAsphere.

Better Hearing & Speech Month Roundup–Week 3


So many Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM) posts and so little space to share them all! Thanks to all who commented on the week 1 and week 2 roundup posts–it’s great to see so many actively engaged in promoting BHSM in innovative, fun ways.
Here are just a few of the many posts we’ve seen this past week:
  • Carole Zangari, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, is devoting this month’s strategy of the month posts to helping SLPs develop  PrAACtical Learning and Resource Networks.
  • Brenda Gorman, PH.D., CCC-SLP, reminds us that BHSM is a great time to spread the word about the CSD professions, on the Lingua Health blog.
  • The UHS-Pruitt Corporation website devoted this month’s Wellness Tips section to BHSM, focusing on hearing and hearing safety.
  • The National Initiative for Healthcare Quality highlights their infant hearing screening program in recognition and celebration of BHSM.
  • Not a blog post, but last week, Pat Ritter, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Executive Director, The Treatment & Learning Centers and Greg Weimann, MBA, ASHA  Manager of Public Relations, conducted a live online chat for ASHA members that focused on marketing one’s services as part BHSM.  The questions ran the gambit from inquiries about the best ways to reach physicians and other referral sources to questions about starting a new practice, hours of operations, and even how to market an open house. Here’s an except from the chat:

Q: How would you market an open house? What would you suggest having at an open house besides staff/brochures/possible videos?

Greg: For the open house, I would invite the local media. Take pictures if media doesn’t come and send the photos. I would have food, demonstrations, videos and perhaps have patients that you have helped tell their stories.

Pat: Make the open house personal. Have lunch and chat about your services. This is best. You can have the brochures etc. to take away. Think of what you like, conversation, interaction a good feel. Market through flyers, letter and personal calls. We do these and with everyone so busy it is hard to get people to come. Personal invites are best OR give value. Do a one hour workshop that would draw people in and then talk about your practice for 10 minutes.

ASHA members can access the full archive of the online chat here.

Share your blog posts or other resources in the comments and we’ll continue sharing them each Thursday throughout May.

(The poster pictured above was included in the March 13, 2012 issue of the ASHA Leader. For more free BHSM resources like coloring pages, book marks, door hangers and more, visit the BHSM section of the ASHA website.)

 

Maggie McGary is the online community & social media manager at ASHA, and manages ASHAsphere.

 

 

Better Hearing & Speech Month Roundup–Week 3


So many Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM) posts and so little space to share them all! Thanks to all who commented on the week 1 and week 2 roundup posts–it’s great to see so many actively engaged in promoting BHSM in innovative, fun ways.
Here are just a few of the many posts we’ve seen this past week:
  • Carole Zangari, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, is devoting this month’s strategy of the month posts to helping SLPs develop  PrAACtical Learning and Resource Networks.
  • Brenda Gorman, PH.D., CCC-SLP, reminds us that BHSM is a great time to spread the word about the CSD professions, on the Lingua Health blog.
  • The UHS-Pruitt Corporation website devoted this month’s Wellness Tips section to BHSM, focusing on hearing and hearing safety.
  • The National Initiative for Healthcare Quality highlights their infant hearing screening program in recognition and celebration of BHSM.
  • Not a blog post, but last week, Pat Ritter, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Executive Director, The Treatment & Learning Centers and Greg Weimann, MBA, ASHA  Manager of Public Relations, conducted a live online chat for ASHA members that focused on marketing one’s services as part BHSM.  The questions ran the gambit from inquiries about the best ways to reach physicians and other referral sources to questions about starting a new practice, hours of operations, and even how to market an open house. Here’s an except from the chat:

Q: How would you market an open house? What would you suggest having at an open house besides staff/brochures/possible videos?

Greg: For the open house, I would invite the local media. Take pictures if media doesn’t come and send the photos. I would have food, demonstrations, videos and perhaps have patients that you have helped tell their stories.

Pat: Make the open house personal. Have lunch and chat about your services. This is best. You can have the brochures etc. to take away. Think of what you like, conversation, interaction a good feel. Market through flyers, letter and personal calls. We do these and with everyone so busy it is hard to get people to come. Personal invites are best OR give value. Do a one hour workshop that would draw people in and then talk about your practice for 10 minutes.

ASHA members can access the full archive of the online chat here.

Share your blog posts or other resources in the comments and we’ll continue sharing them each Thursday throughout May.

(The poster pictured above was included in the March 13, 2012 issue of the ASHA Leader. For more free BHSM resources like coloring pages, book marks, door hangers and more, visit the BHSM section of the ASHA website.)

 

Maggie McGary is the online community & social media manager at ASHA, and manages ASHAsphere.

 

 

Better Hearing & Speech Month Roundup–Week 2

 

In addition to it being Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM), this week is also National Stuttering Awareness Week! ASHA partnered with the Stuttering Foundation to raise awareness among parents and other caregivers about the warning signs of stuttering and the need for early intervention. The Stuttering Foundation has information and resources about National Stuttering Awareness Week which you can use throughout the year to raise awareness about stuttering.

In addition to the hundreds of tweets this past week about BHSM, here are just a few of the many blog posts featuring BHSM ideas:

  • Consonantly Speaking cultivated a great list of free printables for BHSM.
  • The Pediastaff blog lists more great resources for BHSM.
  •  Heather Gehringer, CCC-SLP, created a calendar for BHSM planning, which is posted on her blog, Heather’s Speech Therapy.
  • The Apraxia Adventures blog has a great idea for raising awareness about apraxia during BHSM–31 facts about childhood apraxia of speech that you can share throughout the month and beyond.
  • Not a blog post but a terrific idea to promote BHSM on Facebook and Twitter, Beginnings of North Carolina is running a “Donate your status” campaign throughout the month. They make sharing BHSM facts as easy as retweeting/sharing their daily posts.
  • The image above is by Jakhai Ellerbe from New York City, who won first place in last year’s ASHA’s annual BHSM Drawing Contest.  You can download the screen saver [link is executable file], and also have your students enter the 2012 BHSM drawing contest–details and complete contest rules are available on the ASHA website.
Share your blog posts or other resources in the comments and we’ll continue sharing them each Thursday throughout May.

 

Maggie McGary is the online community & social media manager at ASHA, and manages ASHAsphere.