Maine Speech Language Hearing Association Website: www.mslha.org Facebook page: www.facebook.com/maineslha Established: October 1964 Members: 166 Contact: Sharon Peabody, president, speabody@aos92.org; Margie Childs, secretary, mchilds@rsu18.org The Maine Speech Language Hearing Association (MSLHA) provides top-notch professional development, legislative advocacy and networking opportunities for members and nonmembers (including caregivers and those from other fields). We maintain a ... State Spotlight
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State Spotlight  |   September 01, 2015
Maine Speech Language Hearing Association
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Hearing & Speech Perception / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / State Spotlight
State Spotlight   |   September 01, 2015
Maine Speech Language Hearing Association
The ASHA Leader, September 2015, Vol. 20, 66. doi:10.1044/leader.STSP.20092015.66
The ASHA Leader, September 2015, Vol. 20, 66. doi:10.1044/leader.STSP.20092015.66
Website: www.mslha.org
Established: October 1964
Members: 166
Contact: Sharon Peabody, president, speabody@aos92.org; Margie Childs, secretary, mchilds@rsu18.org
How are you making a difference in your members’ professional lives?
The Maine Speech Language Hearing Association (MSLHA) provides top-notch professional development, legislative advocacy and networking opportunities for members and nonmembers (including caregivers and those from other fields). We maintain a variety of networking opportunities and ASHA-approved trainings for audiologists and speech-language pathologists and audiologists across our state, including yearly conferences, an updated website, a new Facebook page and our new regional MSLHA-sponsored meetings. The presenters and topics at our conferences are chosen from nationwide talent and based on members’ professional needs. Our Executive Council meets regularly to address the needs of clients and professionals who treat people with communication disorders.
What is the most significant challenge, unique circumstance or pressing frustration facing communication sciences and disorders professionals in your state today?
The MSLHA Legislative Committee is researching provider-based differences in reimbursement rates for state-funded speech-language services and is developing plans to lobby for our members as necessary. We are also working on the dissemination of information to parents about the ways to access speech-language services in the preschool setting. MSLHA is seeking to rebuild our legislative committee so that we can lobby on issues that affect practitioners in our field.
What is your association’s proudest accomplishment?
Our association has worked on legislative and networking levels to assist those with communication needs and the professionals in the field. MSLHA had a role in establishing standards for hearing testing of school age children (1969); helping SLPs in the 1980s learn about P.L. 94-142 (now the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act); creating the state licensure board for SLPs and audiologists (1976); serving on the council with the Department of Education and Cultural Services for mainstreaming students who are deaf and hearing impaired (1973); and establishing a task force for Pupil Evaluation Team guidelines for speech-language services (1992). In recent years, we have worked to eliminate the requirement that school-based SLPs hold Maine licensure and Department of Education certification, to achieve fair pay for private practice clinicians, and to establish guidelines for state certification of speech-language pathology assistants.
What is a particularly memorable event in your association’s history and how did it come about?
MSLHA just celebrated our 50th anniversary! We spent 2014 posting weekly anecdotes about the history of MSLHA and communication disorders milestones on our state email discussion groups. We culminated the celebration at our annual conference at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, Maine, with more than 200 in attendance. There we provided workshops on social thinking and dementia topics. At the conference, we honored several MSLHA members for their service at a special social hour and held many interactive activities over the three-day conference to inform attendees about the rich history of MSLHA.

Executive Council members will be traveling the state and hosting “dine and discuss” meetings with audiologists and SLPs throughout Maine’s 16 counties.

Do you have a particularly successful advocacy or recruitment strategy to share?
Because we live in a large state and want to increase our networking opportunities, we have organized a “road show” for regional groups. Executive Council members will be traveling the state and hosting “dine and discuss” meetings with audiologists and SLPs throughout Maine’s 16 counties. We have sent out invitations to all SLPs in the state and hope to promote networking and membership enrollment through this project. We also hope that these groups continue to meet regularly and inform MSLHA of what is happening in the field throughout the state.
What should every communication sciences and disorders professional in your state know about the association?
We are working on strengthening our legislative monitoring and lobbying, and are seeking a chair for our legislative committee. This position is unique in that it requires not only a working knowledge of issues that affect SLPs and their clients around the state, but also working knowledge of legislation.
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FROM THIS ISSUE
September 2015
Volume 20, Issue 9