Spreading the Word: Help Promote Early Identification of Communication Disorders ASHA's Identify the Signs campaign is in full swing. Here are five ways you can help spread the message. Spreading the Word
Spreading the Word  |   February 01, 2014
Spreading the Word: Help Promote Early Identification of Communication Disorders
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Special Populations / Early Identification & Intervention / ASHA News & Member Stories / Language Disorders / Spreading the Word
Spreading the Word   |   February 01, 2014
Spreading the Word: Help Promote Early Identification of Communication Disorders
The ASHA Leader, February 2014, Vol. 19, online only. doi:10.1044/leader.STW.19022014.np
The ASHA Leader, February 2014, Vol. 19, online only. doi:10.1044/leader.STW.19022014.np
Five months in, ASHA’s year­long Identify the Signs campaign to spread awareness of early signs of communication disorders has reached more than 141 million people. Through this bilingual, multi-faceted campaign, 40 television or radio stations have hosted ASHA members for interviews; many publications, including The Washington Post and USA Today, have published campaign-related articles; and many national organizations—including the Child Mind Institute, Easter Seals, National Head Start Association and National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts—have signed on as partners.
A key goal of the campaign is to involve as many ASHA members as possible as we shine the spotlight on the early signs—in children and adults—of speech and language disorders and hearing loss, as well as on the role of ASHA members in treating them. To reach this goal, we recruited members to serve as spokespeople as media opportunities became available in their cities.
We also developed a member toolkit to help members use and personalize the campaign’s resources in their daily work.
As we work to keep the campaign’s early detection message front and center in 2014, try one of these five ways to help spread the word.
Post to your local Patch. Patch is an AOL-owned community news platform. Plug in your zip code on the website to find your town’s Patch. Patch welcomes—and depends on—reader-generated content. You can post about the campaign on one of many boards, such as “Speak Out” or “Town Square” (here is a great example of a clinic in Washington that personalized the sample blog in ASHA’s member toolkit). If you include visuals with your content, you increase the chance that your post will be featured prominently, so consider using one of the images available for download in the toolkit.
Write a guest blog post. Opportunities to pen guest blog posts, especially on community-based and newspaper websites, are plentiful. You may follow some of these blogs, but never considered writing for them. Beyond local sites, the campaign fits well with many national or international blogs on specific subjects, such as parenting, health and education. Take a look at ASHA member T.J. Ragan’s guest post on Special Education Guide’s blog.
Get social. ASHA members can be quite social-media savvy. Many members posted on their own social media accounts about the campaign’s launch. There is enough Identify the Signs material— public service announcements, an infographic, news stories, podcasts and more—to post regularly. Tell people, and tell them again! Remember to use the hashtag #identifythesigns. There are too many wonderful examples of members sharing via Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest to list here, but the campaign has benefitted greatly from the enthusiastic posts from members.
Send out a press release or media advisory. Tried and true, these tactics remain effective in capturing the attention of reporters at local newspapers, magazines, and TV and radio stations. Use the template in the toolkit or develop your own release or advisory, send it out to a list of local reporters (with a personalized introduction, for best results), and be prepared to reply immediately if you get a response. Here is how Northern Arizona University helped promote the campaign via a news update.
Give television a try. A television appearance may seem daunting, but ASHA members are— naturally!— excellent communicators and TV news shows have long been a key part of ASHA’s grassroots media efforts. Local stations are looking for “news-you-can-use” stories, and a segment for parents on how to recognize the signs of a communication disorder in a young child, or for older adults about helping a spouse with hearing loss, will be attractive to a local station. Already, ASHA members have been featured in many such pieces in, for example, Albuquerque, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City and San Diego.
Use these ideas to bring Identify the Signs to your community. For more information on how to get involved email pr@asha.org.
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February 2014
Volume 19, Issue 2