A ‘Big Picture’ Learning Experience The ASHA Convention in Los Angeles will offer larger-than-life, live continuing education and professional socializing that you just can’t find online. From the President
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From the President  |   August 01, 2017
A ‘Big Picture’ Learning Experience
Author Notes
  • Gail J. Richard, PhD, CCC-SLP, is former department chair, professor emeritus and director of The Autism Center at Eastern Illinois University. gjrichard@eiu.edu
    Gail J. Richard, PhD, CCC-SLP, is former department chair, professor emeritus and director of The Autism Center at Eastern Illinois University. gjrichard@eiu.edu×
Article Information
Professional Issues & Training / ASHA News & Member Stories / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / From the President
From the President   |   August 01, 2017
A ‘Big Picture’ Learning Experience
The ASHA Leader, August 2017, Vol. 22, 6-7. doi:10.1044/leader.FTP.22082017.6
The ASHA Leader, August 2017, Vol. 22, 6-7. doi:10.1044/leader.FTP.22082017.6
ASHA is going to Los Angeles for the first time since 1981! Preparations for the 2017 ASHA Convention have been underway for well over a year. Convention committee chairs Mary Casper and Anita Vereb, along with Ellen Shortill and her team at ASHA, have worked hard to integrate the best of California and Los Angeles into the convention events. The diversity of the California landscape—with mountains, ocean, desert and cities—parallels the diversity represented in various aspects of our professions.
We chose the theme of “Focus on the Big Picture” almost a year ago to reflect the variety of challenges that are affecting our professions. The big picture implies several things. We have to exit our silos and embrace interprofessional education and practice with a client-centered focus. We have to consider the whole person, not just their speech, language and hearing abilities. How do the communication impairments affect their everyday lives?
As an association, we have to look beyond our borders and be willing to serve as a model for countries throughout the world that are trying to establish available services for their populations. And as individuals, we should nurture and explore other talents, interests and aptitudes to bring a healthy balance to our lives. Attending this year’s convention can help accomplish all those things for you!
Perspective and empowerment
Many of this year’s sessions feature interdisciplinary speakers, chosen to bring stimulating new ideas and perspectives to aspects of our disciplines. Sessions highlighting provision of services to international populations explore issues of access to audiologists and speech-language pathologists. Sessions focused on service-delivery models underscore the importance of considering the whole person when evaluating the impact of a communication disorder.
This year’s convention also features some new offerings to help support the “you” part of the big picture. Activities like “Walk and Talk” with your colleagues and morning yoga aim to help you with life balance. And a new “Empowerment Zone” seeks to equip you with skills for professional, social and political advocacy, public speaking, and communication via social media. Choose from offerings to help you advocate for yourself and our professions.

Learning is a process in which a person interacts with information and integrates it into a knowledge base. The ASHA Convention offers an ideal opportunity for this interaction and synthesis.

Human interaction
Most importantly, take time to engage with colleagues and immerse yourself in face-to-face continuing education that can’t be completely replicated through online experiences. Obviously, many of us use online technology to meet our needs for information and continuing education. It saves time, money and personal wear-and-tear from travel. It also provides us with a wealth of information at our fingertips.
But it’s also worth noting that in 1988, biologist, researcher and author E.O. Wilson wrote, “We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom.” In the same vein, Mary Todd, executive director of Phi Kappa Phi, wrote in the Fall Forum 2016 issue that there is a difference between gathering information and learning. Learning is a process in which a person interacts with information and integrates it into a knowledge base. The ASHA Convention offers an ideal opportunity for this interaction and synthesis.
A nation of learners
Consider the fact that we like to learn, as found in the study “Lifelong Learning and Technology,” released by the Pew Research Center in March 2016. Most of the adult respondents classified themselves as lifelong learners, with 74 percent involved in personal learning to pursue activities to advance their knowledge, and 63 percent engaged in professional learning as full- or part-time workers.
Interestingly, most of the learning did not occur online. Most respondents engaged in personal learning experiences at a library, church, school or other physical location. Professional learners reported that their experiences occurred primarily at work-related physical venues, despite having the technology to participate online. Respondents’ main motivations for learning were to make their lives more interesting and to learn how to help others.
I believe that is the perfect mantra for the ASHA Convention: Make your life more interesting and learn how you can be more effective in your professional life. ASHA can help you focus on learning, feeling empowered, having fun and working in the big picture of life. Join us in Los Angeles, the City of Angels, and participate in activities to contribute to your legacy, both personal and professional!
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FROM THIS ISSUE
August 2017
Volume 22, Issue 8