A Year of Conversing and Connecting In her final month in office, ASHA’s 2016 president reflects on the power of the association’s mission to make communication accessible for those with speech-language and hearing challenges. From the President
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From the President  |   December 01, 2016
A Year of Conversing and Connecting
Author Notes
  • Jaynee A. Handelsman, PhD, CCC-A, is the director of pediatric audiology at the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery in the University of Michigan Health System. She is an affiliate of ASHA Special Interest Groups 8, Public Health Issues Related to Hearing and Balance; 9, Hearing and Hearing Disorders in Childhood; and 11, Administration and Supervision. jaynee@med.umich.edu
    Jaynee A. Handelsman, PhD, CCC-A, is the director of pediatric audiology at the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery in the University of Michigan Health System. She is an affiliate of ASHA Special Interest Groups 8, Public Health Issues Related to Hearing and Balance; 9, Hearing and Hearing Disorders in Childhood; and 11, Administration and Supervision. jaynee@med.umich.edu×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / ASHA News & Member Stories / From the President
From the President   |   December 01, 2016
A Year of Conversing and Connecting
The ASHA Leader, December 2016, Vol. 21, 4-5. doi:10.1044/leader.FTP.21122016.4
The ASHA Leader, December 2016, Vol. 21, 4-5. doi:10.1044/leader.FTP.21122016.4
I love the theme of this month’s ASHA Leader—“The Art of Conversation”—which seems particularly apropos as we move into the holiday season, a time when friends, family members and colleagues gather to celebrate and enjoy one another’s company. While these gatherings can be fun and memorable, they can be difficult for people with a communication disorder.
For example, my 87-year-old father, who has hearing loss, completely avoids social situations involving more than a couple of people because he is unable to hear well enough to engage in the conversation. So, when family members gather, even in his own home, he retreats to a quiet space rather than participating in the celebration. Similarly, children with communication problems may be unable to fully participate.
The feature articles in this issue address supports for people with these conversational difficulties: One focuses on effective ways to work with children who struggle with turn-taking and talk-sharing. Another article examines the role speech-language pathologists can play to support children with conversational challenges and their families during the holidays or other times involving large family gatherings. As a discipline, we are all passionate about making communication, which we consider a human right, accessible and achievable for everyone. Being able to successfully engage with loved ones is so important to every person’s quality of life, regardless of age.
During my tenure as 2016 president, I have had the opportunity to be an active participant in conversations about how audiologists can and should be involved in improving access to hearing health care for a greater segment of the population. Some groups have focused on improving the affordability of devices as a primary means to success, including changing regulations to allow over-the-counter purchase of hearing aids or marketing personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) for adults with mild-to-moderate hearing loss.

ASHA has stressed the importance of comprehensive audiologic assessment as the first step toward hearing health care, as well as the role of the audiologist in the development and execution of a plan of care when hearing loss is noted.

Other groups have focused on self-diagnosis of hearing loss via technology. As an association, ASHA has stressed the importance of comprehensive audiologic assessment as the first step toward hearing health care, as well as the role of the audiologist in the development and execution of a plan of care when hearing loss is noted. As you know, excellent outcomes for people with hearing loss require more than the purchase of a device.
In this issue’s “All Ears on Audiology” column, Nancy Tye-Murray addresses customized hearing health care and highlights a new evidence-based online approach to auditory training that she has developed using fun games. I am impressed that clEAR (Customized Learning: Exercises for Aural Rehabilitation) is the result of years of research.
This is my final Leader article as ASHA president. I want to thank you for allowing me to represent you in a variety of contexts and to serve as the volunteer leader of the association. I am honored and humbled by your trust in me. I have had amazing experiences and have learned so much. For example, through my participation in meetings within and outside the U.S., I have gained a global perspective about the diversity of our professions worldwide. Additionally, although through my 2010–2012 experience on the Board of Directors I had a fairly deep understanding of the many ways our association supports us all and the people we serve, my experiences this year have deepened that understanding in ways I could not have anticipated.
Please take advantage of the resources that ASHA has developed by visiting the website. I have also had the opportunity to talk with many of you and to engage with our emerging leaders through the Minority Student Leadership Program (MSLP), the Leadership Development Program (LDP) and the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) Executive Council.
I am convinced from my interactions with these group’s energetic individuals that our future is bright! Please consider volunteering by completing and submitting the committee/board interest form. We need your energy and ideas to accomplish even greater things.
Thank you so much for an amazing year! Words cannot adequately express what it has meant to me.
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FROM THIS ISSUE
December 2016
Volume 21, Issue 12