In the wake of Hurricane Harvey’s U.S. landfall in late August, speech-language pathologists mobilized on social media to donate money, treatment materials and supplies to help SLP colleagues who were affected. Efforts are also under way to aid SLPs who sustained losses from Hurricane Irma, which hit U.S. territories in the Caribbean before barreling through Florida earlier this month.
Here we highlight some of the relief efforts shared with ASHA. If you know of any others, please tell us about them in the comments below.
Nearly 1,500 speech-language pathologists from all work settings, communication sciences and disorders (CSD) students, and related professionals belong to the “Help Harvey SLPs” Facebook group. The group’s mission involves SLPs raising funds and donating treatment materials and supplies, augmentative and alternative communication devices, household goods, gift cards and anything else needed by those living and/or working in the Houston area. Nine Texas-based SLPs organized the group: Laura Deeken, Lisette Edgar, Allison Fors, Darla Gardner, Kristin Immicke, Kristie Knickerbocker, Amanda Newsome, Ashley Rossi and Amanda Schaumburg.
These SLPs also launched a GoFundMe page, which has raised more than $9,000 to fulfill wish lists from affected SLPs. The page states they use 100 percent of the money collected to buy concrete assessment and treatment materials—nothing digital—such as testing sets, activity workbooks and games, and curriculum kits. Known as The Texas SLPs Bloggers, the group benefited from an existing social media network, which they quickly pooled to mobilize friends and colleagues.
The Facebook group can’t handle out-of-state donations at this point, but several SLPs from other states post on the page offering their support. The group is closed, to maintain the mission of Texas-based SLPs helping other SLPs. They are allowing posts promoting other related relief efforts. A link to “AAC Relief: Hurricane Harvey,” for example, is posted on the page. SLPs in the group are also sharing free activities, social stories, storyboards and other graphics. Many of the posts include “thank yous” to donors with stories from those who received materials and how they plan to use them.
In other efforts, Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT)—a popular website for educators used by many SLPs who create and sell treatment materials—also organized a fundraising page for Hurricane Harvey and another for Hurricane Irma through www.donorschoose.org. They’ve raised more than $880,000 for Harvey and more than $49,000 for Irma. TpT will match donations through Sept. 29 for those who complete an online form.
Do you know of similar efforts to support your CSD colleagues after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma? Please share any links or events in the comments below.
Editor’s note: ASHA is monitoring the situations in Texas and Florida and is in communication with the Florida Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists and the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association about response efforts to audiologists and speech-language pathologists. For more information, see ASHA’s Response to Hurricane Harvey and ASHA’s Response to Hurricane Irma. FEMA also provides a list of ways to help with hurricane recovery.
Shelley D. Hutchins is a content editor/producer for The ASHA Leader. firstname.lastname@example.org.