**** American School Speech Pathology 2014 **

notes on image

The Girl with a Pearl Earring , Johannes Vermeer. Oil on canvas, 1665, Mauritshuis Museum.

Supporting the independence of School Speech Pathology.

John M.Panagos

ASHA Board of Directors Admits School Practice Oversight Inadequate

In its August, 2014 meeting, the Board of Directors voted to revise the 2013 decision for a committee to provide input on school issues and needs, and established a standing committee for the same purpose. The rationale was stated as follows:

“Because members have expressed concern regarding the constant flux of school-based practice—and with new issues and demands facing school-based practitioners as they operate, grow, and transform their professional practices, it was felt that such a board could be more responsive to the changing needs of school-based members. After thoughtful discussion, the Board voted to approve this resolution.”


But we add the problem is not liberal input. It is the Board’s incapacity to follow through and make changes. WE HAVE HAD THE DATA FOR YEARS!

Board members come and go, leaving the ASHA staff to implement passed resolutions. The ASHA staff has neither the capacity nor continuing authority to implement change.

And so long as the Board allows the CAA to stand alone by its own declarations, curriculum will be forever consigned to a continuing flurry of public relations moves carried out through sparkling education programs.

The Problems are Well Known

Here is an honest perspective from FB:

“Bari Ann – With the increasing paperwork, billing for reimbursement, non-speech job related responsibilities, and lack of professional regard from others, the contracting position is looking better and better.

Thank you!

ASHA Board of Directors Ignores School Practice

In prior posts we have said the ASHA Board of Directors neglects school speech-language pathology as to long-term programs (e.g., collaboration) and curriculum (phonology). To investigate further, 2013 BOD records were examined to identify directional patterns of administrative activity. (http://www.asha.org/about/governance/bod/) When BOD members meet, do they deliberate on school issues, or do they dwell on other topics? How important is school practice to board members? Does the BOD make sure graduate students are educated for school service?

Board Meetings

In 2013, BOD members (16) met for five meetings (January, March, June, July and October). Agenda items were organized by the President and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The board approved their responsibilities for addressing ASHA business:

“The Board’s responsibilities are broken into four areas: planning, operations, audit, and communications. After considering some suggestions for adding clarifying language to the procedures, the Board agreed that the document effectively captures the Board’s operating methods and procedures for working with the National Office staff.”

Board Actions

A total of 82 actions (resolutions, motions) were studied. The Board voted positively 81 times. Ninety percent of the votes were unanimous. A motion on behalf of the American Academy of Audiology was voted down 0-15. Twice two negative votes were cast.

The analysis indicated seven types of administrative activity consistent with Board responsibilities. They are presented in rank order of occurrence.
Committees (council, board) (20)– E.g. health care economics
Appointments (14)– E.g. pioneer network
ASHA Policy (13)–E.g. operational guidelines
Awards (12)–E.g. association honors
Funding (9)–E.g. travel expenses
Affiliations (8)–E.g. craniofacial association
Practice (6)–E.g. study evidence-based practice

Approved were funding proposals, professional affiliations, awards, appointments, practices and policy initiatives. Board members approved several committee, board and council actions (n=20). Practice items were the fewest in number (n=6).

Speech-language pathology was mentioned 34 times and Audiology 10. There was one incidental mention of “school based” speech-language pathology. There were no mentions of service delivery models, caseload problems, school SLP satisfaction, reading, RTI, encroachment, preschool, paperwork, scope of practice demands.

The CAA is responsible for curriculum standards. There was one action appointing two people to the council.

Practice Decisions

Seven percent of the business items related to general SLP professional practice. Decisions made were at the operational level. The word “curriculum” was never used. There were incidental mentions of traditional clinical categories:
Swallowing (1)
Stuttering (1)
Voice (1)
Aphasia (1)
Cleft Palate (1)
Autism (0)
Language (0)
articulation (0)
Augmentative Communication (0)
Response to Intervention (0)

Two Board projects were approved.

First, a vote was cast to support the Practice Resource Project Portal. However, the Portal is non-binding and not for school SLP practice per se.

Second,BOD members voted unanimously for a special committee to provide planning input to ASHA on school matters:

“RESOLVED, That the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) establish, for a 2-year period, the Speech-Language Pathology School Issues ad hoc committee, charged to provide leadership, guidance, and strategic planning in developing, recommending, implementing, and reviewing ASHA policies, procedures, programs, and resources relative to speech-language pathology practice in k-12 schools…”


We asked whether the ASHA Directors at their yearly meetings address school issues and curriculum needs. The answer is no. The Board restricts its work to ASHA operational concerns. It does not address issues of academic and accreditation systems where curriculum is a central component. It’s scope is narrow and voting perfunctory.

Puzzling is why the Board restricts its deliberations to operational business. By so doing, it effectively abdicates its responsibility to the membership. The BYLAWS clearly demand far-ranging oversight of all ASHA affairs.

ASHA Board of Directors Supports Practice Portal

Old house in small town

Old house in small town

The Portal: September, 2014

The American Speech Language Hearing Association represents a modern field providing clinical communication services to adults and children in all settings of service delivery. Accordingly, it has initiated a project to describe the many help services speech language pathologists provide to their clients. The Portal project is a long-term program approved by ASHA Board of Director:

“BOD 32-2013…. RESOLVED, That the Board of Directors (BOD) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) continue to support the development of ASHA’s Practice Portal, and further;

RESOLVED, That the BOD approve use of the Special Opportunities Fund to provide such support in an amount not to exceed $550,000 per year for the years 2015, 2016, and 2017.”



Internet Connectivity

The TerpSys company has designed the Portal program for easy online use:

“TerpSys worked with ASHA to create a responsive site that makes navigating through large amounts of scientific information easy on any device:

Responsive – ASHA can create and maintain one set of content, but know that it looks custom-tailored on all of their users’ devices

Brand Extending – The Practice Portal fits the overall ASHA brand, but with a fresh, forward-looking feel
User-centered – Content expands and contracts to give users quick access to just the information they need in the moment

Consistent – Ektron, a .NET-based content management system (CMS), allows new content to be created in a consistent way as the Practice Portal grows”


According to a current public information release, the Portal is being well received and is pushing forward on new topics:

“Currently, the Portal site features detailed content on 20 clinical and professional issues for audiologists and speech language pathologists, including pages on autism, dementia, bilingual service delivery, classroom acoustics, and newborn hearing screening. New pages are added on a regular basis and announced on ASHA’s Facebook, twitter, and community sites.”

“The goal of ASHA’s Practice Portal is to assist audiologists and speech-language pathologists in their day-to-day practices by making it easier to find the best available evidence and expertise in patient care, identify resources that have been vetted for relevance and credibility, and increase practice efficiency. Our goal is not to provide a practice ‘recipe’ but to make available to you the information and resources you need to guide your decision-making…”


Ways ASHA….

Window looking out.

Window looking out.

We who work in American schools and constitute over half of the membership of the American Speech Language Hearing Association are at risk for neglect by the Board of Directors on whom we depend for policies favorable to our professional success. We are under-represented in ASHA governance following a pattern dating back to 1930 when the “founders” captured and dismantled our programs. The founders made sure we could not easily participate in leadership roles by setting standards to favor themselves and doctoral level professionals. That pattern persists today.

Here I examine the authority structure of ASHA –both formal and informal — to show you how it works against school members and favors the elite non-school members.The facts are hidden in plain sight.


ASHA controls every stage of BOD elections and this filters out school SLPs. There is no write-in ballot for us. We are allowed to nominate Board nominees but nominees are screened by the ASHA committee. Nominees cannot campaign: E.g., “Production and use of campaign paraphernalia including, but not limited to: buttons, fliers, balloons, display booths, stickers, ribbons, or other give-aways.” So if John Panagos campaigned to reform ASHA and get others to back him, his behavior would be unacceptable.


Just as in the 1930s, elite non-school doctoral members dominate the nomination process. Of the current list of 17 Board Members for 2014, 15 have doctoral degrees.

ASHA Board of Directors Excludes Evaluation of CAA

By a unanimous decision, the Board of Directors accepted in January of 2014 the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee on Committee, Board, and Council Structure Review to exclude evaluation of “the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) and CAA Affiliated Subcommittees.”

The recommendation was made… “on the basis of a conference call with Paul Rao, 2012 Past President and Barbara Moore, 2012 Vice President for Planning and a follow-up electronic communication with Arlene Pietranton, Chief Executive Officer…”

Curriculum and program advancements in schools cannot be achieved until the Board of Directors holds the CAA accountable for improving graduate education for school SLPs. The CAA is responsible for standards. and the BOD is responsible for the CAA.

The Bylaws indicate accountability:

“4.9.1. The Board of Directors may establish and dissolve standing committees, boards, councils, ad hoc committees, working groups, and other entities necessary to conduct the Association’s business, and designate and change their charges and determine their size, member qualifications, and terms.”

ASHA BOD Should Evaluate CAA Policies and Procedures

We urge the ASHA Board of Directors to evaluate the administrative policies and procedures of CAA in consideration of school programs and curriculum development necessary for modern school practice.

Something doesn’t compute!

The BOD represents the only legal authority of ASHA. Specifically, the Bylaws say:

“4.1.2. The Board of Directors is the single governing body of the Association and shall actively promote the objectives of the Association, operating in accordance with and administering and implementing the programs and policies established by these Bylaws and by the Board of Directors. Members of the Board of Directors are elected to serve by and are accountable to the members of the Association.”

The ASHA mission statement includes “setting standards” and “fostering excellence in professional practice…”  The CAA is not mentioned.

The Board has full authority to address issues facing CAA:

“4.9.1. The Board of Directors may establish and dissolve standing committees, boards, councils, ad hoc committees, working groups, and other entities necessary to conduct the Association’s business, and designate and change their charges and determine their size, member qualifications, and terms.”

In 2013 the Board voted to approve two CAA members appropriately. It also voted to waive evaluation of CAA, exercising its authority to do so. If it can waive evaluation, it can initiate evaluation.

The ASHA Board of Directors must ignore claims by the CAA to stand alone, as an independent authority. It is responsible to the voting and paying membership via the Board, and half the membership works in schools.

The “autonomy” claim simply does not hold water: In the Bylaws 8.2 this claim is not affirmed:

“The Association, by action of the Board of Directors, shall establish and maintain a program of academic accreditation. The Association shall establish the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA), which shall define the standards for the accreditation of graduate education programs and apply those standards in the accreditation of such programs…”



Department of EducationDSC00166

The U. S. Department of Education recognizes ASHA for accrediting speech-language pathology and audiology:
Council on Academic Accreditation: Candidate Status”

CAA is the sub-agency of ASHA. The Department of Education recognizes ASHA as the accrediting agency, and the BOD is responsible for ASHA.

CAA is not self-supporting. ASHA members pay for space, personnel and funds to support CAA operations. Such facts do not support the claim of autonomy.

The U. S. Department of Education is presently accepting ASHA’s application for renewal.

“American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology 

ASHA Board Shifts Mission for Improving Accreditation

We are happy to see the Board of Directors has shifted the ASHA mission to include accreditation and educational preparation. The CAA (Council on Academic Accreditation) should be drawn out of its silo to address school speech-language pathology curriculum development.

The new mission includes “setting standards” and “fostering excellence in professional practice, and advocating for members and those they serve.”

ASHA Studies Mission in 2012 Update

In 2012 we began to examine how the ASHA Board of Directors views the mission of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association with reference to curriculum development for school speech-language pathology students and employees. Here was the first post:


The Board of Directors of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has announced for its August 2012 meeting interest in soliciting input on the Mission of the Association:

The current mission:

“Empowering and supporting speech-language pathologists, audiologists, speech, language and hearing scientists by:

Advocating on behalf of persons with communication and related disorders;

Advocating communication science;

Promoting effective human communication.”


“A mission statement is a statement of the purpose of a company or organization. The mission statement should guide the actions of the organization, spell out its overall goal, provide a path, and guide decision-making. It provides “the framework or context within which the company’s strategies are formulated.”[1]  Wikipedia”


Kids stuff for school.


In May of 2012 the Board considered a proposal adding a medical component to the mission statement:

“A group of members, who are board-recognized swallowing specialists, asked the Board to consider changing ASHA’s mission statement to include swallowing…. Following discussion, it was decided that ASHA should consider adding the words swallowing and balance to ASHA’s mission statement, while maintaining the original sense of the mission….”

2013 Update

The ASHA Board of Directors approved the following mission statement:

“Empowering and supporting audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists through:

advancing science,

setting standards,

fostering excellence in professional practice, and
advocating for members and those they serve.”


ASHA Accreditation CAA Calls for Input

Kids stuff for school.

Kids stuff for school.

In June of 2014 ASHA released a call for CAA input:

Call for Comment: Standards for Accreditation

The Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) is seeking comment on its current Standards for Accreditation. Input received from the community will be reviewed carefully as the CAA considers changes to the standards for entry-level graduate education programs.”


A call for member ideas is a welcome turn of events. Let’s see how this information is processed? We hope it does not disappear into a black hole of poor feedback communication.

The CAA has a policy of “autonomy” and private decision-making insulated it from the membership. In fact it claims to have no influence from “ASHA”:

“CAA is completely autonomous in accreditation decision-making, standards-setting, and policy issues – distinctly separate and without influence of ASHA or staff in these areas “



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 28 other followers