The time has passed…and I’m pausing again to reflect on insights and wisdom I should be taking away from this year’s ASHA Convention in Philadelphia, PA.
Aside from the great turnout, which always gets me excited (many colleagues having great conversations), I can think of three take-aways:
1. The fact that SLPs are entrepreneurial is a feature of our culture.
If I had a nickel for every SLP who had developed a product/procedure/tool they and perhaps others use, I’d retire today. When a gap exists in resources, SLPs as a general rule are not complainers–they fill the gap themselves. This feature of our apparent make-up is encouraging in so many ways and I’m convinced that the efforts are done in the spirit of improving peoples’ lives through better communication. I’m also encouraged by the fact that more SLPs have felt compelled to employ evidence-based practice guidelines in the development of these tools, including reliability and validity measures. One specific example is treatment fedelity–it’s one thing to say, “It works for me” and quite another to say, “It works for anyone.” Of course, there is also the issue of whether or not “it” actually “works.” But we’re getting more and more attuned to the best process for tool and resource development, not just the end product itself. We must hold the bar high for publishing efforts in our midst–for ourselves and for others. I observed the trend going in the right direction at ASHA this year.
2. Our personal/consumer knowledge and our professional knowledge continue to blur…and that’s a good thing.
I noted a session titled, “(C)APD Therapy from the Palm of Your Hand” by Donna Geffner and Bunnie Schuler. Paging through the handout, I was literally amazed at what technology will offer to extend the evidence-based priniciples of treatment. What we learn in the consumer world of our personal lives we can extend into our professional contexts. SLPs can be particularly adept at this “congruence”–the alignment of all the parts of our lives into one identity, one skill set, one person. Especially in early adopters of technology (not necessarily age-related, of course), one could see evidence at ASHA of technology and practices you see on the news at home each night. We bring the best of our worlds into our practice. That’s not just being tech-savvy–that’s being relevant.
3. We need more PhDs, and our flexibility to this end is improving.
The Researcher-Academic Town Hall meeting was packed again this year, and the topic was the PhD. That is, we need more of them in our professions who choose to enter research tracks in academia and build the next generation of professionals. While the “PhD shortage” drum beat has been sounding for multiple years now, this meeting focused on the flexibility of what can be done to make that outcome a reality. The presenters outlined strategies for allowing professionals who are not able to go the “traditional” PhD route to achieve the terminal degree all the same. What a wonderful, inclusionary direction for our professions and I applaud and support all those who are using the height of creativity and innovation to make this happen.
For these and so many other reasons, ASHA was, once again, a great convention!
What did you learn at Convention this year?