Sweet Home Chicago: Convention Draws More Than 12,000 Just one word described the ASHA Convention in Chicago, President Kate Gottfred told a huge crowd of members at the convention’s opening session. She paused for dramatic effect—‘Supercalifragilisticexpeialidocious.” The audience cheered at the reminder that “Mary Poppins” star Julie Andrews would speak later that evening. Superlatives abounded at the Nov. ... ASHA Convention Coverage
Free
ASHA Convention Coverage  |   December 01, 2008
Sweet Home Chicago: Convention Draws More Than 12,000
Author Notes
  • Dee Naquin Shafer, assistant managing editor of The ASHA Leader, can be reached at dshafer@asha.org.
    Dee Naquin Shafer, assistant managing editor of The ASHA Leader, can be reached at dshafer@asha.org.×
  • Marat Moore, managing editor, can be reached at mmoore@asha.org.
    Marat Moore, managing editor, can be reached at mmoore@asha.org.×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / School-Based Settings / ASHA News & Member Stories / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Traumatic Brain Injury / Speech, Voice & Prosody / ASHA Convention Coverage
ASHA Convention Coverage   |   December 01, 2008
Sweet Home Chicago: Convention Draws More Than 12,000
The ASHA Leader, December 2008, Vol. 13, 20-23. doi:10.1044/leader.ACC.13172008.20
The ASHA Leader, December 2008, Vol. 13, 20-23. doi:10.1044/leader.ACC.13172008.20
Just one word described the ASHA Convention in Chicago, President Kate Gottfred told a huge crowd of members at the convention’s opening session. She paused for dramatic effect—‘Supercalifragilisticexpeialidocious.” The audience cheered at the reminder that “Mary Poppins” star Julie Andrews would speak later that evening.
Superlatives abounded at the Nov. 20–22 convention, beginning with the numbers—more than 12,000 members attended 1,800 educational sessions and 29 short courses in speech-language pathology and audiology. The number of speakers topped 4,000; the number of exhibitors and poster sessions were record-breaking.
The convention showcased a number of positive trends that ASHA vigorously supports: evidence-based practice was emphasized in seminars, short courses, workshops, and posters; diversity was a subject of discussions and presentations; discipline-wide topics appealing to speech-language pathologists and audiologists were well-represented; expansion of the discipline’s knowledge base through enhancement of clinical and research program content was emphasized; and more than ever before, the 2008 ASHA Convention was “green”—even the badge holders were biodegradable. Expanded audiology content, more poster sessions and exhibits than at previous conventions, and accolades from such luminaries as Andrews and Sen. John Glenn underscored the growth and increased visibility of communication sciences and disorders.
Opening Session
In her presidential address at the opening session, Gottfred elaborated on the convention theme, “Celebrating the Winds of Change,” and referred to the change sweeping through speech-language pathology and audiology.
“School reform across the country is happening as we speak. We must stand ready to be accountable for our outcomes and for the success of all students, not just our ‘special’ ones, or our programs will not be sustainable,” she said. “Medically based services are changing, too. Outcomes will determine how and how much we are paid.”
Another change involves soldiers who need rehabilitation. ASHA members face challenges in treating servicemen and women who have suffered traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Gottfred said. Previously such patients would not have survived, but improved safety equipment is saving lives—and posing new disorders of cognition and auditory function. Increasing globalization is a broader change affecting the world and the discipline, she said.
“Keep adapting and being strengthened by the winds of change,” she said. “It demands that we be leaders in not only respecting all languages and dialects, but helping all to achieve true and meaningful communication with others to reach their own full potential.” (For more excerpts of Gottfred’s speech, see the “From the President” article in this issue of The Leader)
Brigadier General Loree K. Sutton, director of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Center of Excellence, gave a lively keynote address at the opening session.
“I’m taken by your vision—making effective communication, a human right, accessible and achievable for all,” she said, referring to ASHA’s vision statement. She noted that her mother acquired a brain injury during the last three years of her life.
“I remember how excited she became when the speech-language pathologist came to visit and how much it meant to me to see her progress,” she said.
For Sutton, the experience demonstrated the hope that rehabilitation brings to patients. Providing better care and rehabilitation for wounded soldiers, many of whom suffer TBI or post-traumatic stress disorder, is vital, she said, praising the expertise of audiologists and SLPs. “We won’t get anywhere without you on the team,” she told the crowd.
Educational Offerings
Educational sessions began Thursday morning, with the annual “Audiology at ASHA” convention featuring an expanded program that drew an enthusiastic response. In “A 3-D Tour of the Central Auditory System,” attendees wore paper 3-D glasses for a visual tour of the brain, prompting appreciative exclamations.
ASHA also held its first live audiology Web session, with Ruth Bentler presenting an update on hearing aid technology to convention attendees and an online audience. “Preventing Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Begins in Grade School” and “Defining and Diagnosing Central Auditory Processing Disorder” were among other popular audiology sessions.
Seminars, workshops, and posters covered the broad sweep of the discipline—with sessions focused on schools, health care, speech science, hearing science, and topics about all populations: pediatric, geriatric, culturally and linguistically diverse, and more. Hot topics included autism, literacy, traumatic brain injury, response to intervention, dysphagia, central auditory processing, cochlear implants, hearing aids—and many more.
A new convention program known as Dynamic Learning Groups made its debut. These informal gatherings were designed to help members meet other professionals and extend learning experiences from convention sessions. The pilot program was limited to 100 participants who met in groups with creative names chosen by participants: Chaos and Disorders, Butterflies, the Oompa-Loopa Group, and Do You Hear What I Hear?
Charles R. Larson of Northwestern University, who was awarded the Ninth Annual Zemlin Lecture in Speech Science, presented on “The Role of Auditory Feedback for the Control of Voice Fundamental Frequency and Amplitude.” ASHA Special Interest Division 5, Speech Science and Orofacial Disorders, organized this event. Larson and his research group have discovered that some voice control might be reflexive and not entirely voluntary.
The 18th Annual NIDCH-sponsored research symposium included five sessions related to “Neurobiological Determinants of Human Communication: Prematurity and Early Childhood.” Other research highlights were the 2008 New Investigator Roundtable, the 2008 Pathways to Research Funding Roundtable, and the Researcher-Academic Town Meeting.
Awards and All That Jazz
The stars came out at the ASHA Awards on Friday evening—the stars of ASHA’s universe and nationally known celebrities, with music by the Mike Jeffries jazz band. Honors Chair Nancy Alarcon introduced short videos that profiled the five Honors recipients. The audience gave standing ovations for the Honors, Fellows, and other awards. (For complete coverage of ASHA award recipients, visit the ASHA Web site.)
To a tremendous standing ovation, Andrews received the 2008 “Annie” from Annie Glenn and her husband, former astronaut and Senator John Glenn. Mrs. Glenn overcame a severe stutter and helped establish the award in 1987.
A much-honored star of stage, screen, and television, Andrews began her remarks with a quotation from Talmudic sage Hillel: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?”
“There have seldom been better words uttered than those about making a difference in the lives of others; about how should we guide our humanity,” she said, thanking ASHA professionals for their service to others.
“Some make a difference through the arts—that wonderful sandbox that I’ve had the opportunity to play in for most of my life,” she said. Andrews noted that she had been a beneficiary of professionals whose collaborative efforts make television, recordings, and movies possible. After laryngeal surgery that caused vocal fold scarring, she is the beneficiary of a team of physicians, scientists, audiologists, and SLPs. Andrews said she is honored to serve as honorary chair of this medical team and as “one of its Petri dishes, so to speak.
“As I suspect a great many of you know, I can’t sing as a result of surgery on my vocal cords that went very wrong some 12 years ago. But I might sing again someday and soon,” she added as the audience roared approval.
Ten years ago, she began writing with her daughter, Emma, who is an educator. The Julie Andrews Collection’s mission is to provide quality books for children of all ages.
“If you think about it, the books that I write for children are simply an extension of my singing voice,” she said. “I never chose songs for just a beautiful melody—it was always about the words.”
Andrews ended by praising the work of ASHA members, saying, “Know that the significance of what you do brings so much to others.”
Other Highlights
Students were very active and involved at the 2008 Convention. The National Student Speech Language Hearing Association had a full day of events, including the first-ever “Knowledge Bowl,” a “Jeopardy”-like competition complete with pom-poms. The Minority Student Leadership Program participants wowed judges with their polished three-minute presentations.
Members also spoke directly to ASHA’s Board of Directors at two Membership Forums, and also talked more informally with board members at a new kiosk at ASHA Center.
Next Year: New Orleans!
The 2009 Convention moves south next year! New Orleans is the site of the Nov. 19–21 event.
0 Comments
Submit a Comment
Submit A Comment
Name
Comment Title
Comment


This feature is available to Subscribers Only
Sign In or Create an Account ×
FROM THIS ISSUE
December 2008
Volume 13, Issue 17