San Diego Welcomes ASHA San Diego’s weather was, of course, splendid-albeit a bit surreal following so close on the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. It was perhaps the memory of those harrowing events that made a gentle 75 degrees in November that much more remarkable. Although the sun was shining outside the ... ASHA Convention Coverage
ASHA Convention Coverage  |   December 01, 2005
San Diego Welcomes ASHA
Author Notes
  • Ellen Uffen, is the managing editor, features, of The ASHA Leader.
    Ellen Uffen, is the managing editor, features, of The ASHA Leader.×
Article Information
ASHA News & Member Stories / ASHA Convention Coverage
ASHA Convention Coverage   |   December 01, 2005
San Diego Welcomes ASHA
The ASHA Leader, December 2005, Vol. 10, 1-23. doi:10.1044/leader.ACC.10172005.1
The ASHA Leader, December 2005, Vol. 10, 1-23. doi:10.1044/leader.ACC.10172005.1
San Diego’s weather was, of course, splendid-albeit a bit surreal following so close on the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. It was perhaps the memory of those harrowing events that made a gentle 75 degrees in November that much more remarkable.
Although the sun was shining outside the San Diego Convention Center the real action was all inside. Attendees-who this year included professionals from almost every continent of the globe-participated in workshops, courses, seminars, and poster sessions covering the gamut of research and clinical topics at all instructional levels.
Many of the over 1,600 presentations focused on the Convention theme of “Using Evidence to Support Clinical Practice.” For just a brief sampling, there were sessions covering “Evidence-Based Practice for Speech-Language Pathologists Working in Health Care Settings,” “Evidence-Based Practice and Audiology,” “An Evidence-Based Process for Making Clinical Decisions in Schools,” “Evidence-Based Practice Patterns in Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders,” “Appraising Reviews for Evidence-Based Practice and Future Research,” and the cautionary “Evidence-Based Practice: Be Not Afraid.”
Pre-Convention Activities
Things were hopping at the ASHA Convention well before the official opening. On Thursday there was a full roster of meetings of boards, committees, councils, and allied/related professional organizations. Clinical Skills Workshops were held as well by Special Interest Divisions 1, Language Learning and Education (“Beyond Phonemic Awareness: Necessary Understandings for Reading Words”); 4, Fluency and Fluency Disorders (“Counseling Techniques in Treating Fluency Disorders”); and 11, Administration and Supervision (Operationalizing the Operation”).
The Research-Academic Town Meeting, sponsored by AGS Publishing, took place on Thursday evening. The networking/educational event featured presentations on evidence-based practice (EBP) and its implication for PhD education.
Rob Mullen, of ASHA’s Center for Evidence-Based Practice, spoke on EBP at the National Office level. He discussed terminology and noted that ASHA’s role is educating and supporting members in EBP and identifying and addressing gaps in the evidence underlying audiology and speech-language pathology and trying to fill the gaps. Mullen explained that his unit can best provide support to members through ASHA policy documents, the ASHA EBP Web site, clinical trials and guidelines registry, and online tutorials.
Christine Dollaghan, of the University of Pittsburgh, spoke on “Evidence-Based Practice Issues in Speech-Language Pathology,” and Thomas Helfer, of the United States Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine, discussed “Evidence-Based Practice Issues in Audiology.”
Opening General Session
The Convention-which for the fifth year comprised both Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology/Speech and Hearing Science Conventions-went into full swing on Friday at 6:30 a.m. with the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation’s Founders Breakfast honoring donors and scholarship recipients. The new “Rise & Shine” program sessions, including posters, began at 7:30 a.m. with coffee available for those stalwart and even earlier risers at 6:30 a.m.
At the other end of the day members attended the General Opening Session. San Diego’s multicultural spirit was on display in the lively performances of the Mariachi Band and Folklorico Dancers that opened the gathering. The entertainment was followed by welcome remarks from Convention Program Co-Chairs Brenda Ryals (audiology) and Brian Shulman (speech-language pathology).
ASHA President Dolores Battle addressed the members urging them to “think big.” What appears to be a small action can have big results, she said. Think of Rosa Parks’ refusal, for example, to move to the back of a bus. That sparked the entire Civil Rights Movement, Battle said. In the same way, ASHA members’ professional efforts can achieve big results.
“You bring sound to children who were born with less-than-perfect hearing. You restore communication to military personnel who have been wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Battle told the audience. “You are the big thinkers.”
“Thank you for the hearts and minds you have changed. You show the way forward,” she said. “Think big. Your world is as big as you make it.”
Battle introduced Mavis Leno, advocate for the rights of women and children, and currently chair of the Feminist Majority Foundation’s Campaign to Help Afghan Women and Girls, who presented the keynote address. Leno’s husband is Jay Leno, television host of “The Tonight Show.”
Leno started working in 1997 “to give back the lives of Afghan women to the Afghan women.” She explained that these women, before the Taliban, led contemporary lives. When the Taliban took control in their campaign of “gender apartheid” they took all rights from the women, allowing them only the right to beg. The women, many of whom were war widows with children and older parents to support, were left with no means of support.
Leno used the knowledge of public relations that she had gained from her experience with her husband’s fame, to the benefit of her cause. Her strategy was to give press conferences and break the story to popular magazines rather than to the “serious press” and to present the Taliban as “bunches of roving teenagers with Kalishnikov rifles,” a characterization that would catch the imagination of most people. By so doing she was able to reach a much wider audience than might have otherwise had access to the story.
Communication, Leno said, played an “enormous role” in her work and in all human rights issues. Effective communication, she added, “is the way out of this nightmare.”
Friday was also NSSLHA Day at the Convention. The National Student Speech Language Hearing Association activities began with a morning session on “Preparing for the Praxis” followed by a session on “Preparing for Practice: After the Praxis,” concerning how federal regulations can affect professional practice.
The NSSLHA Luncheon and Awards Ceremony celebrated the achievements of individuals who serve students. NSSLHA’s day ended following the Opening Session with the celebration of NSSLHA Nite in San Diego in the historic Gaslamp Quarter of the city fronting the Convention Center.
Research Symposium
ASHA’s 15th Annual Research Symposium (sponsored by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders of the National Institutes of Health), a special feature on the opening day of Convention, had as its theme “Biologic and Physiologic Foundations of Speech Motor Control.” The Symposium comprised four separate Convention sessions that ran throughout the day.
Anne Smith of Purdue University presented the opening session, “Speech Motor Development: Integrating Muscles, Movement, and Syntax.” Smith’s talk focused on the questions of how language acquisition affects speech motor development and how basic motor processes affect language acquisition.
Smith has collected oral movement data from children as young as four through adolescence. Her research group has shown that children, even 16-year-old adolescents, are not yet adult-like in their speech motor parameters. Smith hypothezised that this protracted development is determined greatly by the protracted maturation of the neural networks underlying language. Her work has shown that children can adapt their motor patterns much more readily than adults, which has interesting implications, for example, for second-language acquisition.
Other presenters at the Symposium were James P. Lund of McGill University who discussed his and A. Kolta’s work on “Neural Control of Mastication,” Frank Guenther of Boston University, speaking on “Cortical Interactions Underlying the Production of Speech Sounds,” and Steven Barlow of the University of Kansas who delivered the final presentation on “Orofacial Pattern Generation Across the Lifespan in Health and Disease.”
Awards Ceremony
ASHA’s Honorees, Fellows, and recipients of other awards were honored at a special event on Saturday evening. A highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of the Annie Glenn Award to Mick Fleetwood, founder and drummer of Fleetwood Mac. Annie Glenn, the wife of former U.S. senator and astronaut John Glenn, presented the award to Fleetwood, thanking him for his help and asking him to keep doing what he does to help people with hearing loss and other communication disorders.
Fleetwood spoke of his early struggle with dyslexia. He told the audience that he dropped out of school at 15 because of the dyslexia and, luckily, was supported by his parents in his choice of music as a career. “Music drew me out of the doldrums,” he said, and allowed him freedom of expression, although years of unprotected hearing eventually led to hearing loss. Fleetwood thanked ASHA members for their work in “opening the door to creativity and expression-one of the most precious things one human being can do for another.”
The last event of the Convention-and the last time for attendees to take advantage of San Diego’s perfect weather-was the Closing Sunset Party at Embarcadero Park, on the bay next to the hotels where many Convention guests were staying. There was time, finally at leisure, to spend an hour or two with colleagues, to listen to music, to enjoy food and friendship, to reminisce about past Conventions, and to begin to make plans for 2006.
And so, on to Miami Beach. Keep your eye on The ASHA Leader and on the ASHA Web site for news of next year’s Convention.
Join Us In Miami Beach

Nov. 16–18, 2006

Mark you calendar now for next November and join your friends and colleagues in Miami Beach for ASHA 2006. ASHA will be at the Miami Beach convention center, which spans four city blocks adjacent to the fun and exciting Art Deco and South Beach districts.

Miami Beach has been called the American Riviera with an Art Deco background. Yet there’s more than fine white sand in Miami Beach: The area offers an eclectic mix of world-class boutiques, galleries and stores, and culinary hot spots for gourmets as well as casual dining. At night, Miami comes alive with music and entertainment with a special salsa beat. North Miami Beach offers additional shopping and historic homes and parks and is home to the Florida Performing Arts Theater. There is something for everyone in Miami Beach.

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December 2005
Volume 10, Issue 17