Better Hearing and Speech Month
Each May, Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM) tries to raise awareness about communication disorders and the role that speech pathologists (SLPs) play in providing life-altering treatment. Typically, each year has a specific target theme. This year, the theme is “Communication at Work.”
BHSM has been reorganized to reflect the impact of the COVID-19 virus. All resources are now related to the coronavirus and feature guidance for preventing or managing communication disorders.
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Who Created BHSM?
The American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 211,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel; and students.
ASHA’s website provides valuable information for professionals and also parents whose child may be impacted by a communication disorder.
They post valuable videos, research articles that can provide clarity and spark conversations about information.
Even more specifically, ASHA is also our national governing body as speech-language pathologists. So in order to be a fully-licensed SLP, you have to pay yearly dues to ASHA and do 30 hours of continuing education every three years to keep your certification to practice!
History of BHSM
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) founded Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM) in 1927.
BHSM’s goal is to raise awareness about hearing and speech problems, inspire others to get their own hearing and speech checked, and to do something about it if there’s an issue. Getting treatment improves the quality of life for people with communication problems.
AHSA provides resources for the annual BHSM campaign held throughout May and for patients, health professionals, and others. Part of their website focuses on Better Hearing and Speech Month and features personal stories about this month.
The BHSM website provides free resources like a screen saver, door hanger, iron-on logo, and a Press Room for media organizations.
BHSM encourages parents to identify speech and language problems in their children which can affect their learning and self-esteem. Moreover, the website also educates people about the signs of hearing loss.
How to Celebrate and Raise Awareness
The BHSM website has downloadable files to post on your office door, at school, or even on social media outlets.
Also, ASHA’s website lists foundations and charities geared towards the specific theme of the year. Feel free to donate and share information about different platforms.
Our school district does a monthly “jeans day” for faculty and staff. The other SLP in my building and I typically create and spread the word about a specific area of need related to speech pathology. For instance, last year we chose “Operation Smile,” an organization that provides funding for children to have life-altering cleft palate and cleft lip surgeries. Whatever money we raised, we donated to them!
You’d be surprised how much a simple jeans day spreads awareness about the speech pathology profession. Similarly, they shed light on disorders/syndromes that don’t get much attention very often!
In conclusion, don’t forget that May is Better Hearing and Speaking Month! Spread the word!