A professional organization of speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and researchers in the fields of speech, language, and hearing, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) currently maintains a total membership of nearly 150,000 people. By adhering to its stated mission of advancing communication science, promoting effective communication, and speaking for people with communication and related disorders, ASHA hopes to make effective communication achievable and accessible for all. Members of ASHA enjoy access to a number of organizational benefits, including continuing education, advocacy, top-quality publications, and certification.
Continuing education: To help speech, language, and hearing professionals stay abreast of the latest advances in their respective fields, ASHA offers a number of continuing education (CE) courses in a variety of subjects, including language and literacy, autism and developmental disorders, fluency, and multicultural issues. ASHA members can complete their CE courses through either in-person conferences and events or remote telephone and web seminars. The ASHA Convention, one of the most prominent education events for members of the speech, language, and hearing profession, brings together more than 12,000 professionals for 3 days of seminars, workshops, and speaker series.
Advocacy: In addition to organizing continuing education opportunities, ASHA also acts as a voice for the speech, language, and hearing professions in legislative arenas. In particular, ASHA’s Speak Out, Be Heard federal advocacy program works closely with elected officials to draft laws that favor the interests of ASHA membership. High-priority items on the ASHA legislative agenda include the promotion of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Elementary Secondary Education Act (ESEA) policies that lessen the burden of paperwork, support ESEA funding to help struggling learners in all school districts, and increase recruitment and retention of professionals in the field.
Publications: Through its series of award-winning publications such as the ASHA Leader newspaper, ASHA provides a valuable source of information for speech language professionals as they attempt to deliver the best treatment possible. ASHA also maintains an active presence in the world of scientific research, sponsoring journals such as the American Journal of Audiology, the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, and the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.
Certification: To ensure a high standard of professional and ethical conduct among its members, ASHA sponsors a certification program that recognizes the achievements and dedication of its members. For nearly 60 years, ASHA has certified professionals in the fields of speech, language, and hearing, conferring upon them a fundamental belief in their ability to provide clinical services of the utmost quality.
About the author: An accomplished speech and language pathologist and current member of the ASHA, Janet Turansky possesses more than three decades of experience in the field. A Bachelor of Arts recipient from Queens College in New York City, Janet Turansky earned her Master of Arts degree in Speech Pathology, Audiology, and Early Childhood Education from Hunter College.