Monthly Archives: December 2015

Mission of the American Speech Language Hearing Association

In the 1990s, I retired from college teaching in speech-language pathology and began working in Arizona schools. I reported on my blog and in publications that there were widespread problems with school practice. I asked who was responsible and wondered about the mission of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). My first impression was there must be something lacking in ASHA management.

2011

In 2011 ASHA published its Mission Statement in Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology:

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

Advocating on behalf of persons with communication and related disorders

Advancing communication science

Promoting effective human communication”

It emphasized ADVOCACY in a way consistent with the rapid growth of a Washington-based non-profit charitable organization.

May 2012

The ASHA Board considered adding swallowing 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….”

ASHA floundered responding to a small pressure group.

August, 2012

The mission statement remained the same:

“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.”

2013

The ASHA Board of Directors revised the mission statement to include”setting standards.” In this blog we raised issues about accreditation.

“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.”

April 1, 2015

On FACEBOOK ASHA posts another version of the mission statement, this time without without mention of setting.

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

Advocating on behalf of persons with communication and related disorders


Advancing communication science


Promoting effective human communication”

April 2, 2015

For the Toolkit, the mission is published as follow:

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

Advocating on behalf of persons with communication and related disorders


Advancing communication science


Promoting effective human communication ”

February, 2016

ASHA’s Marketing Department published this mission statement. Setting standards reappears.

“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.”

Conclusions

We see why ASHA seems to wander in its administrative actions, especially those affecting school practice. The Board of Directors is a failing governing body in giving clear direction to the membership. My experience and investigations convince me ASHA does not well”serve” school members beyond selling them products.

When one surveys for the ASHA mission statement one finds it varies wildly in form and content as though no one is home minding the store. Hundreds of variations exist on the internet confusing members and citizens about what ASHA does. In one google search the mission statement had 593,000 mentions.

The Board of Directors is in charge and should monitor ASHA documents for consistency and clarity so everyone knows the facts. And without a comprehensive, consistent, clear and carefully distributed mission statement, how can the Board hope to function properly and effectively?