Editor’s Note: This article was written by an SLP, but is relevant and important for all pediatric therapists and clinical professionals! Get Connected!
by Annie Doyle, CCC-SLP
I will admit it, for many years I was not a member in my local state speech and language association. When we first moved to New Hampshire I joined in an effort to connect with other speechies. I had moved from New Jersey, and NJSLHA was very active. The membership was strong and a bevy of professional development opportunities were offered. New Hampshire just seemed…a little slower to me. After several years I allowed my membership to lapse and I noticed no difference. I became one of the many who uttered the words, “What has the organization done for me?” I did my job, connected with only a few SLPs in our SAU, and saved $60.00 per year (yes only $60.00).
Then came my incredible year of participation in LDP. I suppose I grew up, finally, whew! This shouldn’t come as a surprise, it isn’t a huge revelation, but if everyone says, “What have they done for me,” then NOTHING will get done! Really? An organization is the sum of its parts, it can only be effective with effective participation. We know this, yet still only a handful of people step up to the plate and plod ahead trying to do much with little. So, I rejoined the ranks of NHSLHA and accepted a position on the executive board. Public relations…AAAAAAGGGGGHHHH!! An area I know virtually nothing about. What I do know is I am willing to learn. I know I must stop expecting others to do the work alone. I know ASHA has staff that are ready and willing to help me and our state association experience a renaissance and become an active and proud representative of our profession.
Why should you join the ranks of your state speech and language association?
- Networking: Your state association can connect you with professionals who share your passion. Those professionals possess a collective brainpower that can support you in a wealth of ways including, mentorship, problem solving, research, access to leadership in the profession, advocacy and general support.
- Conferences: State associations provide continuing education opportunities that are often reasonably priced. Additionally, registration costs are often reduced for members, another boon!
- Employment resources: Many state associations list job opportunities on their website. Some can even assist in resume or cover letter writing, interview skills, or job search strategies.
- Advocacy: Your state association is hard at work behind the scenes advocating for the needs of our profession. Representatives from associations tirelessly advocate on your behalf on the issues that impact us daily. Through their efforts hot button issues like caseload size, insurance caps, paperwork burdens and licensure are brought to the attention of our legislators. They also keep membership abreast of federal and state legislative developments that impact us as a profession.
- Professional Clout: Being a card carrying member of a professional organization provides members with some professional influence and who doesn’t want a little street cred?
- Publications: Many associations provide their membership with access to newsletters and/or journals.
I have highlighted probably the most obvious reasons to become involved in your state association and I suspect I have overlooked many others. The point is, we are a collective (resistance is futile!), working toward common interests. A collective needs members, so if you aren’t already a member of your state’s speech-language association I urge you to join.
Make a difference!
About the Author: Annie Doyle, CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist living and working in Plymouth, New Hampshire. Originally, from Franklin Lakes Lakes, NJ, Annie has been working in the schools for 30 years. She received a B.A from William Paterson University in 1983 and an M.A. From Montclair State University in 1986. You can read her blog at Doylespeechworks.blogspot.com