Better Hearing and Speech Month Celebrated on Capitol Hill As May—Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM)—comes to an end, ASHA and its members can look back on a successful public awareness campaign touting the value of audiology and speech-language pathology services. Members across the country have been promoting better hearing and speech, as well as their services, through a ... ASHA News
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ASHA News  |   May 01, 2002
Better Hearing and Speech Month Celebrated on Capitol Hill
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Special Populations / Early Identification & Intervention / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / ASHA News & Member Stories / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   May 01, 2002
Better Hearing and Speech Month Celebrated on Capitol Hill
The ASHA Leader, May 2002, Vol. 7, 1-8. doi:10.1044/leader.AN.07102002.1
The ASHA Leader, May 2002, Vol. 7, 1-8. doi:10.1044/leader.AN.07102002.1
As May—Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM)—comes to an end, ASHA and its members can look back on a successful public awareness campaign touting the value of audiology and speech-language pathology services. Members across the country have been promoting better hearing and speech, as well as their services, through a variety of creative projects. And, through congressional testimony and a Capitol Hill health fair, ASHA has taken the message to Congress, where the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate passed concurrent resolutions supporting National Better Hearing and Speech Month.
In recognition of the approximately 42 million people in the United States who have speech, language, or hearing disorders, both chambers of Congress resolved to support the goals and ideals of BHSM. The concurrent resolutions commend the 41 states that have implemented routine hearing screenings for all newborns, support the efforts of speech and hearing professionals in their efforts to improve the speech and hearing development of children, and encourage Americans to avoid harmful environmental noise and have their hearing checked regularly.
Rep. Jim Ryun (R-KS) introduced H.Con. Res. 358, which passed the House on April 30. In addition to Ryun, Reps. Jim Walsh (R-NY), Mike Bilirakis (R-FL), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) spoke on the House floor on behalf of the resolution, hearing and speech issues, and ASHA’s BHSM activities. On May 1, the Senate passed S.Con.Res. 103, which was introduced by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY). The resolutions are available on ASHA’s Web site. To view the list of the resolutions’ co-sponsors, visit ASHA’s Political Action Center site.
EHDI and IDEA Funding
On May 2, ASHA President Nancy Creaghead testified before the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, requesting increased funding—$23 million—for the federal early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI) program in fiscal year 2003. Specifically, she requested $11 million for the Health Resources and Services Administration and $12 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“This level of funding is needed in order to continue assisting states with the development of newborn hearing screening, diagnosis, tracking and intervention programs, as well as the applied research component related to these EHDI programs,” explained Creaghead.
“Today, we currently screen about two-thirds of the babies in this country. Nevertheless, every day at least 11 babies with hearing loss still leave the hospital and their parents have no idea. These results validate the need for continued federal participation to help ensure that all states and U.S. territories are given the opportunity to successfully put in place comprehensive EHDI programs so that no child is left behind.”
ASHA coordinated a letter to all members of Congress reiterating the need for increased EHDI funding in the FY 2003 budget. Thirty national consumer and professional organizations from the health care and education fields signed the letter.
Creaghead also requested a 12% increase in funding for both Part C, Early Intervention Services for Infants and Families, and Part D, Personnel Preparation, of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
“A commitment to achieving the early diagnosis and intervention for hearing loss for our nation’s children will also require cooperation and coordination among federal agencies, professional and consumer organizations,” she said.
“While ASHA is actively working with the administration on ways to best reform IDEA through its upcoming reauthorization process, the need for services greatly outstrips the resources available to deliver adequate early intervention services to children with hearing loss.”
The full text of Creaghead’s testimony is available online.
Capitol Hill Health Fair
In conjunction with the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus, ASHA sponsored a Capitol Hill health fair for BHSM on May 8, giving members of Congress and their staff the chance to gather information about hearing and speech issues. Fifteen organizations—including consumer and professional groups, as well as federal agencies—participated in the event, as did members of Congress, actor Taro Alexander, and Creaghead.
The four co-chairs of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus—Reps. Lois Capps (D-CA), Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Ryun, and Walsh—participated in a kickoff event with Creaghead, and over 100 congressional staff members visited the displays during the fair.
Alexander—who performs in the off-Broadway show “Stomp!“—has stuttered since he was 5. Last year he founded the Our Time Theatre Company in New York, “an artistic home for people who stutter,” and in March he received the Charles VanRiper Award at the 20th Annual Communication Awards. At the health fair, he shared his experiences with stuttering, working with speech-language pathologists, and the outreach he is now, in turn, doing for others who stutter.
For more information about the BHSM congressional activities, contact Neil Snyder by email at nsnyder@asha.org or through the Action Center at 800-498-2071, ext. 4257. For more information on BHSM and related resources, visit ASHA’s Web site.
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May 2002
Volume 7, Issue 10