Communication Needs a Focus of LC Discussion Improving communication was a major theme of the 2001 Convention meetings of the Legislative Council (LC) and its Audiology/Hearing Science and Speech-Language Pathology/Speech or Language Science Assemblies. Besides dealing with professional issues in communication disorders, these policy-making bodies offered multiple opportunities for comments from members attending Convention, discussed how special ... ASHA News
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ASHA News  |   December 01, 2001
Communication Needs a Focus of LC Discussion
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Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Disorders / Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / School-Based Settings / Professional Issues & Training / ASHA News & Member Stories / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   December 01, 2001
Communication Needs a Focus of LC Discussion
The ASHA Leader, December 2001, Vol. 6, 1-15. doi:10.1044/leader.AN.06222001.1
The ASHA Leader, December 2001, Vol. 6, 1-15. doi:10.1044/leader.AN.06222001.1
Improving communication was a major theme of the 2001 Convention meetings of the Legislative Council (LC) and its Audiology/Hearing Science and Speech-Language Pathology/Speech or Language Science Assemblies.
Besides dealing with professional issues in communication disorders, these policy-making bodies offered multiple opportunities for comments from members attending Convention, discussed how special forums on the ASHA Web site will improve council communications between biannual meetings, and emphasized to the leadership that higher priority must be given to improving timely communication to members on “hot” issues.
In response to concerns that LC meetings generally are not convenient to other Convention venues, the Nov. 16 membership forum and the Nov. 17 assembly meetings were moved from the Sheraton Hotel to the Convention Center, where more members were congregated for Convention sessions.
Thirteen members addressed the LC Membership Forum. Topics included the proposed revisions to the ASHA Code of Ethics, timeliness of communications to audiology members, concern about the decision to sunset the Academic Affairs Board, appreciation for the focused initiative on schools, speech-language pathologist shortages, requirements for CEU providers, a proposal to archive ASHA journals on CD-ROM, and thoughts on the usefulness and purpose of certification (see story below right). In addition, members emailed messages to the forum that were distributed to the LC members. Members also addressed the separate meetings of the Audiology/Hearing Science and Speech-Language Pathology/Speech or Language Science Assemblies.
Among the actions of the LC, acting as a single body, were the approval of the document, “Rights and Responsibilities of Test Takers,” and the revised Code of Ethics (watch for a series of articles related to ethics that will appear in The ASHA Leader in 2002).
Assemblies
The Audiology/Hearing Science Assembly heard a report from Larry Higdon, ASHA’s vice president for governmental and social policies, on the America’s Hearing Healthcare Team Initiative. There was consensus in favor of ASHA’s participation in this public awareness campaign, while, at the same time, concern was expressed for the time lags in communications with member audiologists when controversy erupted. In discussions around public policy issues — in particular, the Medicare Aural Rehabilitation and Hearing Aid Coverage Act of 2001 (H.R. 2934), introduced by Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) — the assembly also supported continued emphasis on the CCCs as the standard for clinical service providers in the profession. The assembly had no resolutions to consider at this meeting.
Three members of the Executive Board, as well as other members, addressed the Speech-Language Pathology/Speech or Language Science Assembly. Alex Johnson, ASHA’s vice president for professional practices in speech-language pathology, brought the members up to date on Association activities and concerns regarding SLPs in health care settings, schools practice issues, and growth and services in the special interest divisions. Glenda Ochsner, vice president for quality of service in speech-language pathology, addressed the phasing out of Professional Services Accreditation, discussed the current activities of the Councils for Clinical Specialty Recognition and Clinical Certification, and provided an update on the speech-language pathology assistant program recognition and assistant registration. Higdon also provided a brief report on America’s Hearing Healthcare Team Initiative.
Five speech-language pathology practice policy documents were approved by the Speech-Language Pathology/Speech or Language Science Assembly: “Knowledge and Skills for Supervisors of Speech-Language Pathology Assistants”; “Knowledge and Skills for Speech-Language Pathologists Performing Endoscopic Assessment of Swallowing Function”; “Roles of Speech-Language Pathologists in Swallowing and Feeding Disorders: Position Statement”; “Knowledge and Skills Needed by Speech-Language Pathologists in Providing Services to Individuals with Swallowing and/or Feeding Disorders”; and “Service Delivery by Speech-Language Pathologists to Individuals Using Augmentative and Alternative Communication: Knowledge and Skills.” These documents will be available by the end of the year on ASHA’s Web site, distributed to the entire membership in a 2002 supplement to The ASHA Leader, and will be included in the next update of the ASHA Desk Reference. Also, watch for a follow-up article in The ASHA Leader on the implications of these documents for ASHA members.
When the LC next meets in spring 2002, the meeting will be convened for the first time by the “Speaker of the Council.” Gail Richard of Illinois was elected to this newly created post.
Members Speak Their Piece to LC
The Legislative Council (LC) heard from 13 speech-language pathologists and audiologists during the annual Membership Forum held as part of the LC’s meeting at Convention.
Among the speakers were SLP Sheryl Amaral from the Rhode Island Speech-Language-Hearing Association, who thanked councilors and Executive Board (EB) members for their commitment to the focused initiative on school-based issues and reported that the state association is planning to pursue a salary supplement for its members in school settings.
Several members spoke in opposition to a recent EB decision to sunset the Academic Affairs Board (AAB). Mike Flahive of Indiana stated that retaining the board would be more efficient and cost-effective than converting to an ad hoc committee or task force model.
James Naas of Kentucky wanted to give his list of reasons to retain the AAB and his list of reasons to dissolve it. Among the reasons he cited for retaining the board were leadership development, dealing with the doctoral shortage issue, legislative initiatives, mentoring possibilities, and male and minority recruitment. “Now, here is my list of reasons to dissolve it,” he said — and went silent.
On another topic, Jane Moir, a school administrator from Los Angeles, creatively expressed her concerns about the shortage of SLPs in her school district. “I’m bothered by how difficult it is to come into this profession,” she said, citing examples of midlife professionals who had dropped their certification and faced obstacles upon trying to reenter the field. In “The Wizard of Oz,” she said, the Tin Man wanted a heart, but only had a funnel. “We’re the funnel, and we need to get more people into the profession,” Moir said, placing a funnel on her head. “Open up the field, ASHA. Have a heart.”
Arizona audiologist Sandra Turek expressed her displeasure about the “lag” in ASHA’s response on audiology issues. She cited the “most recent debacle” concerning America’s Hearing Healthcare Team Initiative. “We don’t need a position statement on everything. Sometimes a quick email will do,” she said. “We need to respond quickly before rumors become false truths.”
Mary Gray of Kentucky read a letter from a member expressing concern that the application process for ASHA CEU providers was “too cumbersome and expensive.”
Texas SLP Carol Venus read a letter from audiologist Richard Wilson, stating that ASHA CCCs “have outlived their usefulness.” In the letter, Wilson stated that licensure was sufficient in many states. On another topic, he suggested that ASHA should make the back issues of journals available on CD-ROM.
David Irwin of Louisiana spoke about the financial impact that results for state associations when ASHA holds a Convention in a state. The Louisiana Speech-Language-Hearing Association had to cancel their annual meeting, losing income and the opportunity to recruit new members. He suggested that ASHA needs to work with state associations to determine how to cover their lost revenue.
In addition to the members who spoke directly to the LC, the Council received eight email messages to which responses will be sent.
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December 2001
Volume 6, Issue 22