Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Time to Vote for your ASHA board!

As a speech pathologist, I belong to a national organization, The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA),  that pretty much dictates what I do professionally--certification, CEUs, policy, research, position statements.  I can't function without this!

 I do what I need to do to stay certified and stay current in practice, but I can say that I am not always one to responsibly vote in their elections.  ASHA is huge, and  each year, a slate of unknown people appears in an email, on the website, or in an envelope, each complete with a written biography and long answers to policy and organization questions.  It's easy to skim, guess, or delete, especially when I have other pressing issues such as writing the next IEP.  Sorry ASHA! 

This year, however, I'm turning over a new leaf.  As I 'skimmed' the ballot, a familiar name caught my eye---my wonderful professor from my days at the University of Kentucky--Dr. Judith Page. This name instantly took me back to grad school entry in 1982. 
    Here's a brief tidbit about me--in all honesty, the only reason I went into speech pathology was due to being an unemployed teacher of the deaf.  After a sudden life change, moving to Lexington for personal reasons, I was out of work---speech pathology was a field I picked after about 10 minutes of scanning the graduate school catalog. Speech pathology was slightly related to my first teaching stint at the Kentucky School for the Deaf (only very slightly though).
    In January 1982, I was knocking on the speech pathology department's door, after frantically filling out an application for admission. They let me in, maybe intrigued by my knowing sign language!  Maybe they thought I had some type of potential. (Obviously the grad school process has grown more competitive since then.) That's when I met my favorite professor, Dr. Page. She was always extremely helpful with every student, complimenting them on their successes, supporting them in any endeavors, and guiding them towards the goal of becoming a certified speech pathologist. Her classes were great, and she went the extra mile in advising, research, and supervision.  She encouraged me even when I was unsure of what I wanted to do exactly, and now I am eternally grateful for this, since the field of speech pathology turned out far more fulfilling than even my most remote expectations.

    I've been amazed watching the growth of the University of Kentucky's speech pathology program. When I attended, this program was under the umbrella of the university education department (back in the 'speech teacher' days).  Most of the emphasis seemed to be related to articulation disorders and fluency.  Dysphagia, autism, and augmentative communication were barely mentioned--a small footnote.   The program seemed small (I've forgotten exact numbers) and there seemed to be about 4 or 5 professors in all (hard to remember).    Dr. Page was there then, and has since been promoted up the ranks.  Now the department has moved into the College of Health Sciences  and works closely with the UK hospital and clinic. They currently have 30 graduate students per class, 10 full-time academic faculty members and about 10 clinical staff members.  I'm sure Dr. Page, as hard working as she was back when I was a student, was instrumental in much of the growth and changes.

 So, this year, I'm voting! Dr. Page is a candidate for Vice President for Academic Affairs in Speech-Language Pathology. I know she'll be wonderful since she has such a passion for the work she does and has such a broad base of experience (You can read all of what she has done in her bio).  I'm sure the other two candidates are fine, but since I'm an SLP due in large part to her support, I feel I can support her back.  Thank you for all you did, Dr. Page!
 You can read her bio, and watch her video interviews hereI encourage you to read about all of the candidates for all of the positions and choose the ones you feel are bestThey will affect your profession!

By the way, she did not ask me to write this. I just like to write about my positive experiences, and graduate school in Kentucky was one of the most positive experiences I ever had.

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