Remember, May Brings Communication Disorders to the Fore Each May, Better Hearing and Speech Month gives us the opportunity to shine a spotlight on communication disorders and the professionals who treat them (you!). Similar to last year’s effort that reached an audience of approximately 36 million, ASHA is planning a new round of BHSM communications—including a press release, ... Spreading the Word
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Spreading the Word  |   April 2015
Remember, May Brings Communication Disorders to the Fore
Author Notes
  • Francine Pierson is an ASHA public relations manager. fpierson@asha.org
    Francine Pierson is an ASHA public relations manager. fpierson@asha.org×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Spreading the Word
Spreading the Word   |   April 2015
Remember, May Brings Communication Disorders to the Fore
The ASHA Leader, April 2015, Vol. 20, online only. doi:10.1044/leader.STW.20042015.np
The ASHA Leader, April 2015, Vol. 20, online only. doi:10.1044/leader.STW.20042015.np
Each May, Better Hearing and Speech Month gives us the opportunity to shine a spotlight on communication disorders and the professionals who treat them (you!).
Similar to last year’s effort that reached an audience of approximately 36 million, ASHA is planning a new round of BHSM communications—including a press release, infographic series, podcasts, social media posts, and much more—all of which we hope you can use to spread the word in your own communities. Easy-to-use templates for local application are available at www.asha.org/bhsm.
Our key 2015 message is the paramount importance of human communication—talking, reading, listening and interacting—to children’s overall development, academic and social success, and even future vocational choices. The importance of human interaction is all the more true in this age of technology, in which “smart” devices occupy an ever-increasing amount of time, attention and prominence in the lives of toddlers to teens. Our new missive builds on the early-detection message of Identify the Signs and the safe-hearing messages promoted by ASHA’s Listen to Your Buds campaign.
As ASHA spreads these messages at the national level, we hope you will carry the BHSM torch in your hometown. BHSM’s strength is really at the grassroots level, where ASHA’s network of 182,000 strong interact daily at so many different points in the community. Here are vital ways you can play a role:
Social media takeover—There’s strength in numbers, and nowhere is that more true than on social media. Via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, you have the power to reach the masses. Combined efforts of ASHA members significantly amplify this public education campaign. ASHA will provide resources, such as infographics, that are ideally suited for social media. You can also change your Facebook cover photo; make a simple Vine video; create a Pinterest board with ideas to build communication skills; tweet out signs of communication disorders (use the hashtag #bhsm); or even host your own online event such as a Twitter chat with parents (make sure to designate a specific hashtag—such as #safehearing—so people can follow the conversation).
Local news outreach—We encourage members to reach out to local media frequently through this column, but BHSM is truly the time to do so. You can use BHSM as the news hook and localize the story to your city. Contact the assignment editor at your local TV station (ASHA public relations staff can help you identify this person if you cannot find it on the station website), or a relevant contact at your local newspaper (health editor, parenting writer). You can also reach out to your local NPR station or a popular community blog to suggest a story about technology’s impact on communication skills, safe listening tips and other topics.
Community events—BHSM is the perfect time to host an open house at your practice or an informational seminar at the local library, serve as a guest speaker at a parent-teacher event, organize a hearing screening, or put on another event to raise awareness of communication disorders and your practice/services. These are some of the most popular ways members recognize the month. If you work in schools, visit classrooms with a special activity about communication or host an event in the evening for parents.
Inter-professional connections—Use BHSM as the basis for making new connections with allied professionals in the community. Drop off information about your services to local pediatricians. If you work in schools, host an informational lunch for teachers and administrators. This is a great time to do outreach to professionals who refer to you or need to learn more about your work.
Of course, this is also a time to celebrate our collective passion of helping people communicate effectively. Have some fun! Showcase how you are recognizing the month by participating in ASHA’s Instagram contest for members (hugely popular last year), demonstrate your pride with the available BHSM products, or plan an in-person or virtual networking event with other SLPs or audiologists.
As always, we’d love to hear your plans for BHSM. Tell us what you’re doing and we’ll share it on our website.
For more information about BHSM, please email bhsm@asha.org.
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April 2015
Volume 20, Issue 4