Home Advocacy Back-to-School: The Ideal Time to Educate About Your Services and Expertise

Back-to-School: The Ideal Time to Educate About Your Services and Expertise

by Francine Pierson
written by

It’s the most hectic time of year for many, so make use of ASHA’s ready-made resources!

Summer is winding down, and for many ASHA professionals, that means it’s back to school. If you’re among those entering this hectic period, educating parents, other professionals, and administrators about your role and value of your services might not rank high on your priority list.

But doing so can contribute to greater appreciation from colleagues and students alike—as well as their parents or caregivers—and help fulfill your sense of job satisfaction.

Try these simple approaches to spreading the word—and take advantage of ASHA’s resources to help:

Back-to-school night or open house. Invite parents to stop in for some face time with you. This can get relationships off to a great start or build rapport with returning parents. Also use the time to head off some common concerns and misconceptions, as well as showcase yourself as a key member of the IEP team and school community. ASHA offers plenty of resources you can hand out at an open house (check out the Back-to-School-Toolkit created just for this purpose).

Letter to parents: Parents get a lot of official paperwork as they embark on the services journey, but a more personal note from their child’s audiologist or SLP can mean a lot to them. Take this time to share some tips for how you can maximize your work together for the best possible outcome for a child.

Teacher “mailer”: Unlike teachers who enjoy a large community of peers, school-based audiologists and SLPs often don’t have this type of support network—at least not within the same building. Reach out with a beginning-of-the-year welcome note in the mailboxes of the teachers—some members even provide vocal hygiene tips with a bottle of water. Such gestures can go a long way toward cultivating relationships and support from these critical partners.

PTA presentation: Consider speaking at a PTA meeting about your services in the school—or on a hot topic of broad interest to parents, such as literacy or screen time. This builds awareness with parents and can help you in the future if you’d like PTA budget or program support. Not sure what to say? Try using one of ASHA’s ready-made presentations.

Resources for your use

ASHA provides many resources you can use to support your efforts in promoting your critical role in schools:

Back-to-School Toolkit: Videos, infographics, printable handouts and more to showcase what you do, how to access services, and much more.

Value of the CCCs campaign: Graphics, social media assets, and more are available in the campaign’s social media toolkit, giving you the tools to educate administrators and allied professionals about the value of your certification.

Other ASHA campaigns: ASHA’s Identify the Signs campaign and Healthy Communication & Popular Technology Initiative provide excellent fodder for targeted and broader outreach to the school community. Check out the Identify the Signs member toolkit, Communicating With Baby handouts for kids 5 and under, and Healthy Tech’s Medium page, which contains many shareable graphics/articles.

Here’s to a fabulous 2019-2020 school year!

Francine Pierson is an ASHA public relations manager. fpierson@asha.org.

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