New Governance Structure Adopted Legislative Council Also Approves Preferred Practice Patterns in Audiology ASHA News
ASHA News  |   May 01, 2007
New Governance Structure Adopted
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  • Marat Moore, managing editor of The ASHA Leader, can be reached at
    Marat Moore, managing editor of The ASHA Leader, can be reached at×
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Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Hearing Disorders / Practice Management / ASHA News & Member Stories / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   May 01, 2007
New Governance Structure Adopted
The ASHA Leader, May 2007, Vol. 12, 1-25. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.12062007.1
The ASHA Leader, May 2007, Vol. 12, 1-25. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.12062007.1
In late March, members of ASHA’s Legislative Council (LC) voted by a wide margin to adopt a new governance structure, lobbied on Capitol Hill, and approved key practice documents—new audiology preferred practice patterns*, a position statement on childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), and new guidelines on swallowing services in schools. The LC also voted not to increase dues in 2008 and used the results of member surveys to rank critical professional issues at its annual spring meeting held March 23–25 in Bethesda, Maryland.
The LC’s 122–21 governance vote supports the move to designated representation for audiologists and speech-language pathologists on a new Board of Directors. The Council also established a Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Council and an Audiology Advisory Council, each with 53 members. This new unicameral governance structure will be phased in during 2008, with full implementation on Jan. 1, 2009. The Executive Board (EB) ratified the LC vote at its March 26 meeting.
In its comprehensive study of ASHA’s governance, the 10-member Ad Hoc Committee on Governance Structure and Process gathered feedback from volunteer leaders, including current and past LC and EB members, and identified desired outcomes. Those outcomes included: increasing ASHA members’ ability to identify and discuss issues, increasing member input into governing actions, streamlining decision-making, reducing bureaucracy, increasing autonomy for two professions, and increasing accountability and fiscal responsibility.
The committee, according to its report, “did not start with the premise that the current governance model is broken and we need to determine how we can fix it. By starting with a clean slate, the committee was able to consider a variety of new approaches and new models for ASHA governance.” After reviewing current trends in association governance, data from the ASHA Governance Structure and Process Survey, and LC meeting evaluations, and meeting with a consultant on governance, the committee studied 23 possible governance models before agreeing upon one model that best fit ASHA in terms of member service.
Under the new structure, a 16-member Board of Directors (BoD) will include four new voting members—two new vice presidents and the chairs of the Audiology Advisory Council and the Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Council. The additional vice presidents reflect an expansion of existing responsibilities. Two vice presidents will serve in the areas of academic affairs in speech-language pathology and academic affairs in audiology—formerly a single office expanded into two by profession. The former position of vice president for administration and planning has been expanded into two positions—one each for finance and planning.
Titles for other vice presidents have been revised to reflect more clearly their particular areas of focus. Board members designated for audiology and speech-language pathology will be elected by members of the respective professions. All other voting members of the BoD, except the chairs of the advisory councils and the executive director (ex officio), will be elected by the entire membership.
Watch for a complete report on the new structure in an upcoming issue of The ASHA Leader. Find the full text of the Governance Structure and Process Committee Report [PDF] on ASHA’s Web site.
New Practice Documents
For the first time, ASHA members will have policy guidance on the treatment of childhood apraxia of speech, after a position statement and technical report were approved by the LC.
In addition, SLPs treating school students with swallowing disorders have a new tool for their practice. ASHA’s new Guidelines for Speech-Language Pathologists Providing Swallowing and Feeding Services in Schools became policy in February following electronic approval by the Legislative Council’s Speech-Language Pathology/Speech or Language Science Assembly.
This guideline discusses educational relevance for working with swallowing in schools, provides models for forming a dysphagia team in a school or a school district, describes roles of team members and procedures, and discusses issues such as developing competence and collaborating with medical teams and families.
New Definition of AR
Audiologists have a new set of practice patterns after LC* approval of Preferred Practice Patterns for the Profession of Audiology. Included in the document are new definitions of audiologic rehabilitation (AR) for adults and for children. For adults, “Audiologic rehabilitation is a facilitative process that provides intervention to address the impairments, activity limitations, participation restrictions, and possible environmental and personal factors that may affect the communication, functional health, and well-being of persons with hearing impairment or by others who participate with them in those activities.” The language is similar for children. For access to the full document, visit ASHA Practice Policy.
Critical Issues Survey
A February 2007 ASHA survey asked all members to identify their issues of critical concern. Following discussion of the more than 7,000 responses, the LC ranked the top issues of concern: the critical shortage of SLPs in health care and education (65%), reimbursement (54%), SLP assistants (38%), marketing of the professions (35%), PhD shortage in higher education (35%), evidence-based practice (22 %), public relations (19%), workload/caseload (19%), and credentials (CCCs, AuD), (8%). The EB will use these issues in developing the specific intitiatives in ASHA’s strategic plan.
The LC will meet next at the ASHA Convention in Boston in November. Watch for details this fall in The ASHA Leader.
Childhood Apraxia of Speech Documents Approved

A new ASHA position statement and technical report on childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) stipulates that SLPs may make the primary diagnosis and implement treatment programs for CAS. At the Legislative Council’s March meeting, the Speech-Language Pathology/Speech Science Assembly approved the practice documents, ASHA’s Position Statement and Technical Report on Childhood Apraxia of Speech.

ASHA’s new position statement on CAS states:

It is the position of ASHA that apraxia of speech exists as a distinct diagnostic type of childhood (pediatric) speech sound disorder that warrants research and clinical services. A literature review indicates that apraxia of speech occurs in children in three clinical contexts. First, apraxia of speech has been associated causally with known neurological etiologies (e.g., intrauterine stroke, infections, trauma). Second, apraxia of speech occurs as a primary or secondary sign in children with complex neurobehavioral disorders (e.g., genetic, metabolic). Third, apraxia of speech not associated with any known neurological or complex neurobehavioral disorder occurs as an idiopathic neurogenic speech sound disorder.

Use of the term apraxia of speech implies a shared core of speech and prosody features, regardless of time of onset, whether congenital or acquired, or specific etiology. Therefore, childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is proposed as a unifying cover term for the study, assessment, and treatment of all presentations of apraxia of speech in childhood. CAS is preferred over alternative terms for this disorder, including developmental apraxia of speech and developmental verbal dyspraxia, which have typically been used to refer only to the idiopathic presentation.

The position statement also clarifies the role of SLPs in diagnosing and treating CAS, stating:

It is the policy of ASHA that the diagnosis and treatment of CAS are the proper purview of certified speech-language pathologists with specialized knowledge in motor learning theory, skills in differential diagnosis of childhood motor speech disorders, and experience with a variety of intervention techniques that may include augmentative and alternative communication and assistive technology.

It is the certified speech-language pathologist who is responsible for making the primary diagnosis of CAS, for designing and implementing the individualized and intensive speech-language treatment programs needed to make optimum improvement, and for closely monitoring progress.

Members of the Ad Hoc Committee on Childhood Apraxia of Speech were Lawrence Shriberg (chair), Christina Gildersleeve-Neumann, David Hammer, Rebecca McCauley, and Shelley Velleman. Vice Presidents for Professional Practices in Speech-Language Pathology Celia Hooper (2003?2005) and Brian Shulman (2006?2008) served as the monitoring officers.

For the full text of the documents, visit “Childhood Apraxia of Speech” position statement or technical report.

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May 2007
Volume 12, Issue 6