State Spotlight: Arizona Speech-Language-Hearing Association Website: www.arsha.org Facebook: The Arizona Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ArSHA) Established: June 25, 1969 Members: Approximately 150 Contact: Jeffrey Meeks,president@arsha.org Q How are you making a difference in your members’ professional lives? ArSHA is actively involved in monitoring state legislation that affects the professional practice of all speech-language and hearing professionals in ... State Spotlight
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State Spotlight  |   April 01, 2014
State Spotlight: Arizona Speech-Language-Hearing Association
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ASHA News & Member Stories / State Spotlight
State Spotlight   |   April 01, 2014
State Spotlight: Arizona Speech-Language-Hearing Association
The ASHA Leader, April 2014, Vol. 19, 68. doi:10.1044/leader.STSP.19042014.68
The ASHA Leader, April 2014, Vol. 19, 68. doi:10.1044/leader.STSP.19042014.68
Website: www.arsha.org
Facebook: The Arizona Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ArSHA)
Established: June 25, 1969
Members: Approximately 150
Contact: Jeffrey Meeks,president@arsha.org
Q How are you making a difference in your members’ professional lives?
ArSHA is actively involved in monitoring state legislation that affects the professional practice of all speech-language and hearing professionals in Arizona. ArSHA engages in active dialogue with government agencies and has a place at the table in discussions pertaining to our professions. We serve as a professional resource on clinical practice and help members of the public connect with various agencies and resources throughout the state to meet their needs.
Q What is the most ?significant challenge, ?unique circumstance or pressing frustration facing communication sciences and disorders professionals in your state today?
ArSHA is working with key stakeholders to address a number of issues. Among our priority issues are concerns involving the Arizona Department of Health Services and hearing aid dispensing rules. ArSHA is advocating for dispensing audiologists and representing the interests of the public pertaining to the need for highly trained hearing health care providers.
A second issue is speech-language pathology assistants, which Arizona has licensed for a number of years. However, a large number of employers are not well-informed about the role of assistants and, therefore, use them either inappropriately or not at all. ArSHA is working to educate potential employers about the potential benefits of using licensed support staff to assist ASHA-certified supervisors. We hope that more SLPAs will join ArSHA and assist in our advocacy efforts.
Q What is your association’s proudest accomplishment?
ArSHA’s greatest accomplishment is closely associated with our greatest trial. A few years ago, ArSHA experienced an incident of embezzlement, which drained all of our financial resources. However, through the efforts of the association’s dedicated board and members, we have bounced back and recovered from what could have been the end of our association. The lessons learned from this experience have changed us and allowed us to take greater ownership of our association. We have no paid staff—our entire organization is managed by the volunteers serving on our executive board. Although it is time- consuming for those involved, the sacrifice and service have yielded great results and demonstrate the determination of Arizonans to overcome any obstacle we may face.
Q What is a particularly memorable event in your association’s history and how ?did it come about?
Because public schools are having difficulty meeting their needs due to a shortage of master’s-level SLPs, the state created a special education certificate and limited license in speech-language pathology. These credentials allow individuals with a bachelor’s degree to practice independently in public schools. There is significant discrepancy in clinical education between these certificate-holders and ASHA-certified SLPs, yet they share an identical scope of practice, including assessment. The certification and licensure of these providers has been of great concern to ArSHA.
After many years of advocacy efforts and countless discussions with key stakeholders, ArSHA has been able to find sympathetic leaders in the Arizona Department of Education who have responded to our requests for change. In December 2013, the Arizona Department of Education adopted a moratorium on the certification of new bachelor’s-level speech therapy providers. This is a major accomplishment for ArSHA and will have a positive impact on the quality of services provided to the students in Arizona schools.
Q What should every communication sciences and disorders professional in your state know about the association?
ArSHA exists to serve and advocate for our members. Even though we are small in number, we have a strong presence in the state and powerful relationships with key people. Member support multiplies our efforts exponentially. They are ArSHA!
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April 2014
Volume 19, Issue 4