First Person on the Last Page: Advocacy on the Political Front and at Home This SLP renewed her passion for support of rehabilitation services after she saw how they benefitted her mother. First Person on the Last Page
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First Person on the Last Page  |   February 01, 2014
First Person on the Last Page: Advocacy on the Political Front and at Home
Author Notes
  • Doanne Ward-Williams, MEd, CCC-SLP, is a bilingual clinician in private practice in Raleigh, N.C. She serves on ASHA’s Political Action Committee and is convention co-chair for the National Black Association for Speech-Language and Hearing. She is an affiliate of ASHA Special Interest Groups 14, Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations; and 17, Global Issues in Communication Sciences and Related Disorders. •doanne@carolinaspeechconsultants.com
    Doanne Ward-Williams, MEd, CCC-SLP, is a bilingual clinician in private practice in Raleigh, N.C. She serves on ASHA’s Political Action Committee and is convention co-chair for the National Black Association for Speech-Language and Hearing. She is an affiliate of ASHA Special Interest Groups 14, Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations; and 17, Global Issues in Communication Sciences and Related Disorders. •doanne@carolinaspeechconsultants.com×
Article Information
Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / First Person on the Last Page
First Person on the Last Page   |   February 01, 2014
First Person on the Last Page: Advocacy on the Political Front and at Home
The ASHA Leader, February 2014, Vol. 19, 72. doi:10.1044/leader.FPLP.19022014.72
The ASHA Leader, February 2014, Vol. 19, 72. doi:10.1044/leader.FPLP.19022014.72
Advocacy can take on many roles in our lives as speech-language pathologists and audiologists. I always felt that it was my duty, as an SLP, to not only give great patient care, but also to advocate for the rights of my patients. I feel a responsibility to make sure that my patients are empowered and make their voices heard by those who create laws that affect their daily lives.
My advocacy started at the state level for the maintenance of early childhood education programs and to ensure that policymakers heard the voice of my silenced patients. In addition, I encouraged families to advocate for themselves and tell their individual stories.
Then, one day I had to be an advocate in my personal life and had a story of my own. My mother, the picture of health and strength, suffered a subdural hematoma. I was no longer the SLP; now I was the patient’s family. The situation looked very different from the other side of the hospital bed. Still I was able to make sure that my mother received the best care while in the hospital and ensure that she was aware of her options when she was discharged.
This stressful time in my family’s life made me think about families that may not know their many alternatives following a loved one’s discharge. The incredible recovery that I witnessed while my mother received speech treatment and occupational and physical therapy at an inpatient care facility was nothing short of a miracle! What about those who are unable to speak for themselves or may not know about these options? Who will tell their stories to make sure that they are heard?
Advocacy has been a vital part of my career as an SLP. My job does not end with assessment and treatment—it is only a portion of what makes up my responsibilities. I have participated in several visits to my members of Congress with the National Black Association of Speech-Language and Hearing and ASHA’s political action committee to speak on behalf of not only my patients, but also my colleagues about issues that affect speech-language pathology and audiology.
My passion for advocacy led me to my current position on the ASHA-PAC Board of Directors, which encourages SLPs and audiologists to become more involved in advocacy issues relating to our field. After all, if we do not speak for our patients who cannot speak for themselves, who will?
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FROM THIS ISSUE
February 2014
Volume 19, Issue 2