I just attended my state's annual speech, language, and hearing association's conference last week and my brain is still overflowing with new information and therapy ideas. Sitting through the sessions I attended, I couldn't help but think about the importance of joining your state's speech, language, and hearing association. Just being able to attend your state's annual conference is a reason alone. I was able to attend a variety of presentations given by amazing speakers covering topics that would help me develop and grow as an SLP. I attended presentations on a variety of topics ranging from childhood apraxia of speech, to AAC, to differentiating auditory and language processing, and collaborative literacy strategies just to name a few. Our field is ever changing so it is important to stay on top of what the most current evidence based practices are. What I loved the most about attending this conference was that I was able to return to work on Monday and implement some of the new strategies I learned right away. Plus if you're a member for your state's association, you don't have to pay for ASHA CEUs and State Clock hours (at least in Washington)!
Now you may be thinking, I am already a member of ASHA so it's not important to join my state's association but that is definitely not the case. Becoming a member of your state's association not only helps to pay for the annual conference which brings in a vast array of presenters but it also helps to pay to have a representative lobbying for current issues regarding SLPs in that state. These issues often have to do with medicaid billing, health insurance, and issues affecting SLPs in schools.
Joining your state's association also serves as a way to connect with other SLPs in your state. Not only was I was able to reconnect with my previous professors but I was also able to chat with multiple SLPs from districts around the state. I find it informative being able to talk to other SLPs in my state regarding service delivery models, caseloads, and other issues. It is also nice to hear from other SLPs how they like their school districts just in case I ever had to make a move.
Are you a current member of your state's speech, language, and hearing association? If not, I would highly considering joining. Just attend your state's annual conference to see the many benefits of joining!