Caring, With Competence Through ASHA’s specialty certification program, practitioners can demonstrate their honed expertise in particular areas. From the President
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From the President  |   February 01, 2015
Caring, With Competence
Author Notes
  • Judith L. Page, PhD, CCC-SLP, is associate professor and former director of the Division of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Kentucky. She is an affiliate of ASHA Special Interest Groups 10, Issues in Higher Education; and 12, Augmentative and Alternative Communication. judith.page@uky.edu
    Judith L. Page, PhD, CCC-SLP, is associate professor and former director of the Division of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Kentucky. She is an affiliate of ASHA Special Interest Groups 10, Issues in Higher Education; and 12, Augmentative and Alternative Communication. judith.page@uky.edu×
Article Information
Professional Issues & Training / ASHA News & Member Stories / From the President
From the President   |   February 01, 2015
Caring, With Competence
The ASHA Leader, February 2015, Vol. 20, 4-5. doi:10.1044/leader.FTP.20022015.4
The ASHA Leader, February 2015, Vol. 20, 4-5. doi:10.1044/leader.FTP.20022015.4
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
—Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss), “The Lorax”
Perhaps I’m just an overgrown kid, but I’ve always loved the work of Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss). When I was young and first encountered his books, I loved them for the sounds of the words, the rhythms, the colorful illustrations and the fanciful characters. As I came back to Geisel’s books again in college, I came to love them for the clever rhymes and the playful use of language. Each time I revisit Geisel’s books now, as a professional, I still love the sounds, the rhythms, the illustrations, the characters, the rhymes and the playfulness, but I now find more—wisdom, philosophy, life lessons—all contained in those captivating stories with their distinctive meter.
Take the quote from “The Lorax”: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” This line was written about an environmental disaster: the loss of all the truffula trees in the fictional town of Thneedville. But, taken beyond the context of the story, it could be used to describe the work of all audiologists and speech-language pathologists. Each day we get up and go to work—to the hospital, school, rehab center, preschool, office, lab, classroom, mobile van, telehealth site, nursing home, industrial site … Wherever we go, we go because we care “a whole awful lot.” We go because there are clients/patients/students there with speech, language, hearing, reading, balance and swallowing difficulties who will not get better without our care. We go because there are solutions still to be found and questions still to be answered about communication, swallowing, and balance assessment and intervention. We go because there are new generations of audiologists and SLPs to be educated and prepared to take their place in our professions.

That’s one of the great things about working in our professions: We have the opportunity to work side by side with others who care “a whole awful lot.”

We go to work with other professionals to help address the broader health care and educational needs of those who require our care. We go to help prevent the occurrence of speech, language, hearing, balance and swallowing problems. We go to advocate for our professions and those we serve.
You see, that’s one of the great things about working in our professions: We have the opportunity to work side by side with others who care “a whole awful lot.”
Now, such caring is an important component of providing quality services, but we all know that by itself, it’s not enough. It must be accompanied by competence, as addressed in ASHA’s Code of Ethics. Our code mandates that, “Individuals shall honor their responsibility to achieve and maintain the highest level of professional competence and performance” (Principle of Ethics II), achieved partially by following Rule II.A: “Individuals shall engage in only those aspects of the professions that are within the scope of their professional practice and competence, considering their level of education, training, and experience.”
The ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC-A and CCC-SLP) is a nationally recognized credential, indicating that its holder has the knowledge, skills and expertise to provide quality services and stays current through ongoing professional development. ASHA has been providing this recognition by certifying audiologists and SLPs for professional practice since 1952. Although holding ASHA certification confirms to the public that an individual is qualified for clinical practice, many of us have acknowledged our need for additional preparation—and choose to develop advanced knowledge and skills in one or more areas of clinical practice. In response, ASHA instituted a Clinical Specialty Recognition program in 1995. This program enabled interested groups to petition for and establish specialty boards, which granted Clinical Specialty Recognition to members who met established standards in that specialty area.
In January 2014, the recognition program was replaced by a new Clinical Specialty Certification program, which now results in a Board-Certified Specialist credential. Though this is a voluntary credential (specialty certification is not required for practice in any area), it allows certificate-holders to demonstrate an advanced level of knowledge, skills and experience in a specific area.
There are four available specialty certification areas: Child Language and Language Disorders, Fluency and Fluency Disorders, Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders, and Intraoperative Monitoring. Watch for more specialty areas to become available. Whether or not you explore Clinical Specialty Certification, you can find information on strategies for honing your specialty skills in this issue of The Leader. I invite you to explore your options.
“Oh, the things you can find, if you don’t stay behind!”
—Theodor Seuss Geisel
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February 2015
Volume 20, Issue 2