{What Were They Thinking…. AGAIN!?!} ASHA’s misguided assault on kids & technology for Better Hearing & Speech Month 2016

 

OMazing Kids blog post in response to ASHA BHSM 2016 anti tech campaign

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Dear ASHA, this ASHA certified SLP (dues paying member for 26 years) had prayed that you would have a better campaign in mind for this year’s Better Hearing & Speech Month…. ’cause we are still dealing with the fallout from last year’s fiasco. But unfortunately here we are again in 2016 with a tech shaming focus for BHSM.

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I know you didn’t intend to do harm with last year’s campaign or this year’s but you have. The issue is that your posts and videos don’t include any caveats for appropriate uses of tech such as AAC, adapted play or therapeutic uses of an iPad with high quality apps. They just convey a black and white “tech is bad and needs to be swapped” message. Many parents and SLPs who see your posts and videos don’t differentiate between the “purposes” for the technology. I have seen countless posts in a variety of Facebook groups where SLPs and parents have commented about not pursuing AAC for young children due to needing to “limit screen time”. This is a ridiculous battle. What’s silly is that in the era when all we had was traditional dedicated SGDs nobody ever called that “screen time” yet an iPad with an AAC app locked in Guided Access is a dedicated SGD.

The solution isn’t difficult. You just need to be more thoughtful, balanced and inclusive in your posts and videos. Please consider doing posts that highlight kids with complex communication needs and innovative ways of using tech to meet those needs for AAC, adapted play or therapeutic uses of an iPad with high quality apps.

There are several parent authored blogs that are well respected and have huge followings who I’m sure would be more than glad to share their stories. Please listen. It’s far past time for the voice of ASHA to speak for kids of ALL needs & abilities.

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Interesting post about tech shaming: http://www.sunshineandhurricanes.com/please-stop-saying-technology-is-ruining-childhood/

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Dear OMazing Kids peeps – You can join us in voicing concerns using the #CommunicationTakesAACcess hashtag and by commenting on this post on the ASHA FB page: https://www.facebook.com/asha.org/photos/a.187128960317.137733.26971470317/10153646225275318/?type=3&theater

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You can also followup with an e-mail to bhsm@asha.org. Based on ASHA’s responses to the FB comments so far, we may not be able to do much about the tone of this year’s BHSM but hopefully can prevent a “threepeat” in 2017.

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And feel free to post comments on this video on ASHA’s YouTube channel:

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Update: Well it looks like all of our posts and comments have at least caused The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association to mention that their new infographic excludes tech used for AAC. But the issue is that statement is only visible in the text of their FB post so this infographic viewed outside that context can still do great harm. I left a comment asking that they update the infographic itself. Several others have now commented asking that they also remove the stipulation about “severe” communication disorders. Also…. Not sure what they mean by polling their members. I’m a member and I never received info about this poll.

Love this comment posted by Mary-Louise Bertram: https://www.facebook.com/asha.org/posts/10153650304700318?comment_id=10153650653710318&comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R3%22%7D

 

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My OMazing Kids FB post in late April: https://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsYoga/posts/1134222826628721

& my blog post voicing concerns in 2015: https://omazingkidsllc.com/2015/05/16/what-were-they-thinking-ashas-misguided-assault-on-kids-technology-for-better-hearing-speech-month-2015/

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Check out these posts from others who have spoken out. I will be updating this blog post to add more throughout the month:

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Hold My Words: https://www.facebook.com/HoldMyWords/photos/a.841100355997445.1073741829.824970217610459/971098362997643/

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Uncommon Sense Blog: https://www.facebook.com/123130417730793/photos/a.124083530968815.9496.123130417730793/1067490493294776/?type=3&theater and Dana has boldly posted several comments in the post over on ASHA’s FB page: https://www.facebook.com/asha.org/photos/a.187128960317.137733.26971470317/10153646225275318/?type=3&comment_id=10153646803975318&comment_tracking={%22tn%22%3A%22R9%22}, https://www.facebook.com/asha.org/photos/a.187128960317.137733.26971470317/10153646225275318/?type=3&comment_id=10153647772650318&reply_comment_id=10153647794580318&comment_tracking={%22tn%22%3A%22R9%22} & https://www.facebook.com/asha.org/photos/a.187128960317.137733.26971470317/10153646225275318/?type=3&comment_id=10153647772650318&reply_comment_id=10153649462875318&comment_tracking={%22tn%22%3A%22R9%22}

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Rachael Langley is a fellow SLP and AAC enthusiast who creates fabulous memes: https://www.facebook.com/RachaelLangleyAAC/photos/a.1593847960833847.1073741828.1593841367501173/1734541580097817/?type=3&theater

 

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Speak for Yourself is the only AAC company that I’ve seen so far speak out against the BHSM 2016 campaign. I love Heidi’s boldness to speak up: https://www.facebook.com/SpeakForYourselfAAC/posts/1019817461386869 (one of several posts) & https://www.facebook.com/asha.org/photos/a.187128960317.137733.26971470317/10153646225275318/?type=3&comment_id=10153647815075318&comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R9%22%7D

 

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Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC – inclusive wellness & educational activities for kids of all abilities
Home E-Mail: amoorad1@juno.com
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Angela Moorad is the founder of OMazing Kids, LLC and is an ASHA certified & licensed pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Kids Yoga Teacher with over 26 years experience working in a variety of settings (early intervention, schools, teletherapy & a nonprofit pediatric rehab hospital for children with developmental disabilities). She is an app beta tester for educational & therapeutic app developers and loves sharing info about great apps, products, books & toys to use with kids of all abilities.
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