This year I did something that never crossed my mind when I first traveled aboard this exciting adventure known as Speech Language Pathologist:
After discovering this post from Speech Adventures, I realize that our state organizations really do need us and…we need them. They are the ones lobbying and advocating for us. If we don’t call out to them, often the only voice that they hear are the ones calling for responsibilities that we know, do not benefit our students.
To give you an idea, here are just a few issues our state organization in Ohio is currently involved with:
- Caseload numbers. We are currently trying to come up with a way to calculate “workload” size by assigning “weight” to the amount of work each student takes, and not just counting all students equal. To find out more about caseload vs. workload, check out my post HERE.
- SLPs’ role in reading recovery programs. Should SLPs be considered qualified to teach reading and hold small group reading intervention programs to assist with struggling readers?
These issues affect us so it’s important to stay on top of them.
I’m betting your current organization could use your help. Even if you know nothing about your organization (um, hello-me!), I know they would love to utilize you in some way. Here are some easy ways to get involved:
- If you’re adventurous, volunteer for a position. It’s really not a overwhelming time requirement. Often, meetings are held a few times per year and some are now being held via internet conference (ahhh… pjs while working is the best). State organizations are usually so understaffed that most of the responsibilities fall on just a few people. Trust me, they will LOVE you for offering to help and will become like a special family. =)
- Volunteer at your state conference. This helps out in a tremendous way but is only a one-time commitment. Often, tasks such as greeting and helping people registering, handing out resources or filling in at a vendor table are easy but priceless to an organization that just needs “more hands.”
- If you’re not ready to volunteer, can I please urge you to at least go to your state conference? I hear of so many districts providing professional development on site for their SLPs. Although this is great and super convenient, I believe it does a disservice in the end. Often this professional development is provided online (can I be honest here and admit that I’m much more likely to zone out and miss information when it’s provided online?). Maybe you’re a champ at online professional development and that’s okay. However, not attending your state conference is also an opportunity to miss out on collaboration with other SLPs around your state. Finally, when numbers decrease at your state organization, so does funding. When funding decreases, so does the ability to effectively advocate for us.
- Stay in touch with your state organization. Sign up for their email list. Be “in the know” about current issues your district and state are facing.
Okay, I hope I haven’t scared you away. Let me leave you with one final challenge: The next time you feel strongly about an issue, instead of only voicing it to your significant other or fellow SLPs, make it known to your state organization.
For your convenience, I listed all state organizations below:
Speech and Hearing Association of Alabama (SHAA)
Colorado Speech-Language-Hearing Association (CSHA)
Kentucky Speech-Language-Hearing Association (KSHA)
Ohio School Speech Pathology Educational Audiology Coalition (OSSPEAC)
Pennsylvania Speech-Language-Hearing Association (PSHA)