Wyoming Speech-Language-Hearing Association Website: www.wyomingspeechlanguagehearingassociation.org Facebook: The Wyoming Speech-Language-Hearing Association Established: 1963 Members: 125–150 Contacts: Sue Torney, president, and Jessica Waldron, president-elect, wsha@live.com or 855-727-2836 WSHA’s mission is to support the professions of audiology and speech-language pathology through advocacy, public awareness, professional development, and advancing ethical principles and professional standards on behalf ... State Spotlight
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State Spotlight  |   July 01, 2016
Wyoming Speech-Language-Hearing Association
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Hearing & Speech Perception / Professional Issues & Training / State Spotlight
State Spotlight   |   July 01, 2016
Wyoming Speech-Language-Hearing Association
The ASHA Leader, July 2016, Vol. 21, 68. doi:10.1044/leader.STSP.21072016.68
The ASHA Leader, July 2016, Vol. 21, 68. doi:10.1044/leader.STSP.21072016.68
Established: 1963
Members: 125–150
Contacts: Sue Torney, president, and Jessica Waldron, president-elect, wsha@live.com or 855-727-2836
How are you making a difference in your members’ professional lives?
WSHA’s mission is to support the professions of audiology and speech-language pathology through advocacy, public awareness, professional development, and advancing ethical principles and professional standards on behalf of its members and the individuals they serve.
Our annual convention provides outstanding continuing education opportunities and the opportunity to connect and reconnect with members from all over our state. We support our board members in attending national conferences to keep our members involved and informed of professionally related issues throughout the nation.
What is the most significant challenge, unique circumstance or pressing frustration facing communication sciences and disorders professionals in Wyoming today?
At 97,000 square miles, Wyoming is the 10th-largest state—but its 560,000 residents make up the smallest state population. Our average population—5.8 people per square mile—means rural service delivery for the audiologists and speech-language pathologists throughout the state. Our school districts are challenged to find master’s-level SLPs to serve these extremely rural areas. Many districts and child development centers are using telepractice or support staff to provide direct services.
Hiring highly qualified support staff has posed a great challenge in our state. With our state licensing board, we are in the early stages of developing a more precise distinction between an aide and assistant by defining these positions within our state statutes. We are also looking to develop a certification program for speech-language pathology assistants within our state to ensure that our citizens receive quality services when assistants are carrying out service plans.
What is your association’s proudest accomplishment?
WSHA was one of the founders of the IMASH (Inter Mountain Area Speech and Hearing) Convention that is held every three years in our region. This convention has been referred to as a “mini-ASHA”! The associations in Idaho, Utah, Wyoming and Colorado join together to provide a superior convention for their members. This relationship with bordering states has proven invaluable in our professional development, networking and advocacy efforts.
What is a particularly successful advocacy or recruitment strategy to share?
WSHA has a strong relationship with our only state university, the University of Wyoming. WSHA provides scholarships, leadership roles and support for students to volunteer and attend continuing education sessions at convention. The university faculty leads by example and is actively involved in our association. We provide special memberships for graduate students and clinical fellows to encourage younger, newly trained professionals to join WSHA.
In addition, because our state is so rural, different regions of the state host community outreach social gatherings for audiologists and SLPs. Laramie professionals have monthly get-togethers and recently held a “Sip and Paint” event. The SLPs in Cheyenne are holding their first—and, we hope, annual—”Speech-tacular Race,” patterned on the “Amazing Race” television show.
What is a particularly memorable event in your association’s history and how did it come about?
WSHA celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012, a milestone that speaks to our association’s longevity and sustainability.
What should every communication sciences and disorders professional in Wyoming know about WSHA?
WSHA strives to meet the needs of our membership. In addition to providing an annual convention, WSHA is zealous in ensuring that our audiologists and SLPs have a voice in our state legislation. Membership in WSHA helps support board and committee members who attend national conferences to advocate for our state’s professionals and for the people we serve. WSHA encourages all audiologists and SLPs in Wyoming to become members, as it is through member support that we can continue to advocate for the professions.
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July 2016
Volume 21, Issue 7