Special Interest Groups Celebrate 25 Years as a SIGnificant Resource In 2016, ASHA’s Special Interest Groups program, commonly referred to as “the SIGs,” will celebrate a SIGnificant birthday—25 years! Planning for the SIGs started as early as 1986. But the SIGs (or Special Interest Divisions, as they were called then) officially began in 1991 with 11 divisions. Today, there are ... ASHA News
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ASHA News  |   January 01, 2016
Special Interest Groups Celebrate 25 Years as a SIGnificant Resource
Author Notes
  • Debra M. Suiter, PhD, CCC-SLP, is chair of the Board of Special Interest Group Coordinators. She is director of the Voice and Swallow Clinic and associate professor of communication sciences and disorders at the University of Kentucky. She is an affiliate of SIG 3, Voice and Voice Disorders; and 13, Swallowing,Swallowing Disorders and Dysphagia. debrasuiter@gmail.com
    Debra M. Suiter, PhD, CCC-SLP, is chair of the Board of Special Interest Group Coordinators. She is director of the Voice and Swallow Clinic and associate professor of communication sciences and disorders at the University of Kentucky. She is an affiliate of SIG 3, Voice and Voice Disorders; and 13, Swallowing,Swallowing Disorders and Dysphagia. debrasuiter@gmail.com×
  • Donna F. Smiley, PhD, CCC-A, is ASHA 2013–2015 vice president for audiology practice. She is coordinator of the Educational Audiology/Speech Pathology Resources for Schools Program at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. She is an affiliate of SIG 9, Hearing and Hearing Disorders in Childhood; and 18, Telepractice. smileydf@archildrens.org
    Donna F. Smiley, PhD, CCC-A, is ASHA 2013–2015 vice president for audiology practice. She is coordinator of the Educational Audiology/Speech Pathology Resources for Schools Program at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. She is an affiliate of SIG 9, Hearing and Hearing Disorders in Childhood; and 18, Telepractice. smileydf@archildrens.org×
Article Information
Professional Issues & Training / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   January 01, 2016
Special Interest Groups Celebrate 25 Years as a SIGnificant Resource
The ASHA Leader, January 2016, Vol. 21, 58. doi:10.1044/leader.AN2.21012016.58
The ASHA Leader, January 2016, Vol. 21, 58. doi:10.1044/leader.AN2.21012016.58
In 2016, ASHA’s Special Interest Groups program, commonly referred to as “the SIGs,” will celebrate a SIGnificant birthday—25 years! Planning for the SIGs started as early as 1986. But the SIGs (or Special Interest Divisions, as they were called then) officially began in 1991 with 11 divisions. Today, there are 19 special interest groups representing a wide variety of topics and specialty areas.
The SIG program responds to ASHA members’ diverse interests and professional needs. Members wanted to develop knowledge and skills in narrow subtopics within and across communication sciences and disorders. The SIG program was created to promote specific professional interests among members, develop communication and networking in diverse professional settings, identify and convey concerns and needs to ASHA’s governance, and assist in policy formation.
But what’s really in it for ASHA members? Why should you be a SIG affiliate? What is significant about SIG affiliation? When something is significant to us, it is important or recognizable. There are several recognizable benefits to SIG affiliation: the opportunity to earn ASHA CEUs through self-study of Perspectives, with a discounted rate of $5 per issue/exam for those Perspectives published by the SIGs with which members are affiliated; access to members-only online communities; and a 50-percent discount on select short courses at the ASHA Annual Convention.
Another lesser-used definition of significant is “suggesting a meaning or message that is not explicitly stated,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary. What about the “not explicitly stated” benefits of SIG affiliation? SIG affiliation is a perfect way to network with other professionals who share your interests.

The SIG program responds to ASHA members’ diverse interests and professional needs.

Participating in and reading SIG online community posts is a way to connect with others and learn information that is often practical and clinically applicable. Posting questions or requests for input is a way to get answers fast. The way to know and be known in your field is to develop relationships with others who share those interests.
The ASHA SIG program is one way to do that. Your visibility at SIG affiliate meetings and in the online communities is a way to get to know others in your niche area of practice. In addition, SIGs are always looking for volunteer power—what a great way to get involved in a smaller group of professionals.
Do you want to hone your editorial and writing skills? SIGs need professionals to contribute to and review for Perspectives. Do you want to serve on an ASHA committee? SIGs need volunteers for their coordinating, editorial and professional development committees. These “hidden” benefits all start with you becoming an active member of one of ASHA’s 19 SIGs.
The ASHA SIG program will celebrate 25 years throughout 2016. Watch for information on the ASHA website about the many ways that we will celebrate this SIGnificant event.

To join a Special Interest Group, call the ASHA Action Center, 800-498-2071 (Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m. –5 p.m. ET).

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FROM THIS ISSUE
January 2016
Volume 21, Issue 1