{Dear ASHA} With all due respect…..



Dear ASHA, in response to your “with all due respect” reply, a poll of 3,000 of 186,000 ASHA members and only 307 respondents does NOT reflect the opinions of the majority of us. Instead of providing an unbiased opportunity for members to express our thoughts on the top concerns facing our profession and the families we serve, this poll had a slant towards the negative aspects of tech. What about all the fabulous possibilities of tech such as AAC use, adapted play & therapeutic use of an iPad with high quality apps?
Instead of just repeating the standard advise parents receive regarding limiting tech from the American Academy of Pediatrics, Consumer Technology Association, National PTA or reporters, ASHA is the position to provide important information about how we can support parents in developing communication, language and play skills with their children through appropriate uses of technology such as:

  • Ideas on how to support play and language acquisition through technology for toddlers with special needs.
  • The importance of early access to robust AAC options and information about how to find the Assistive Technology Lending Library programs and SLPs who specialize in AAC in each state.
  • Ideas on how to incorporate technology and social language skills/small talk interventions for adults and teens who use AAC.
  • Ideas on how to incorporate video modeling into language interventions for children who are keen video fans/youtube enthusiasts.
  • Ideas on how technology can be used to support emergent readers and writers who cannot use traditional materials such as paper books and lead pencils.
  • Ideas on how parents can talk with their children as they actively engage in interactive play with apps such as Toca Boca Tea Party, My PlayHome, Sago Mini Friends, etc.
    These ideas were inspired by this fabulous comment by Mary-Louise Bertram on your post: https://www.facebook.com/asha.org/posts/10153650304700318?comment_id=10153650653710318&comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R3%22%7D

As I stated previously, 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 misperception is extremely concerning!
On your Facebook page you encouraged members to “speak up” during BHSM yet when we voiced concerns about our own organization we were redirected to e-mail. The canned reply you get when you take the time to submit your concerns to ASHA formally via the e-mail they provided can be seen in the image at the top of this post and here: https://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsYoga/photos/a.433610663356611.117461.174264525957894/1138548532862817/?type=3&theater

Wow. Thanks for dismissing those of us who work in the trenches with kids with complex communication needs and their families everyday. I think I’ll stick with public forums and social media.
The slogan of BHSM 2016 is “Communication Takes Care“. One of the definitions of “care” is “serious attention or consideration applied to doing something correctly or to avoid damage or risk.”. Kind of ironic since you seem to be taking very little care in how your BHSM campaign is being perceived and the potential damage that it may do.

The solution isn’t difficult. You just need to be more thoughtful, balanced and inclusive in your posts and videos. Please “take care” by 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.

~ from a concerned ASHA certified SLP & dues paying member for 26 years

The poll that you mentioned: http://www.asha.org/uploadedFiles/BHSM-Member-Poll-Results.pdf

No mention of AAC or appropriate uses of tech in any of these BHSM posts:
* http://www.asha.org/bhsm/ten-tips-blog-post/
* http://www.multivu.com/players/English/7802751-asha-risks-of-tech-overuse-poll/
* http://www.asha.org/uploadedImages/BHSM-Infographic.jpeg

FYI – For those who may not know, all states in the USA are supposed to have an Assistive Technology Lending Library program where parents & professionals can borrow AAC devices, iPads with AAC apps & other AT for short-term trial. It’s a great way to try various options out before making purchasing decisions. There are lots of great AAC devices and apps. It’s important to do a good feature-match and trial of options. Find the AT Lending Library in your state: http://www.ataporg.org/states.html. Also can look on: http://www.resnaprojects.org/allcontacts/statewidecontacts.html. They may also have helpful info about SLPs in your area who specialize in AAC and any funding resources that may be specific to your state.

This website has good info regarding potential funding sources: http://ectacenter.org/topics/atech/funding.asp

In case you missed it, OMazing Kids blog post:

#CommunicationTakesAACcess #GiveThemAllTheWords #SeeMeSeeMyAAC #SLPblogger #SLPeeps #BHSM #BHSM2016
Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC – inclusive wellness & educational activities for kids of all abilities
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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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