September 1, 2013 Departments

Inbox: September 2013

More on Ethics Decision

I agree with Malkie Rosen (Inbox, July 2013)—let's have a Board of Ethics that practices some ethics of their own. I disagree that ASHA members who are in violation of their ethics should be published in The ASHA Leader. Why would we force someone to wear a scarlet letter when he or she is already having to deal with having their certificate pulled or job lost? Sometimes members are the victims of circumstance, such as when a spouse fails to pay the correct amount in taxes. How about letting them deal privately with getting their good name back. Shame on you for doing this.

Sharon Powers, Daphne, Ala.

A Therapeutic Pedigree

I especially enjoyed "A Therapeutic Pedigree," the First Person article about Luna, in the July ASHA Leader because I, too, use a therapy dog to enrich my speech-language pathology treatment (2007 to present).

While this article was interesting, I had concerns about the process used to determine Luna's qualifications as a therapy dog. From the article's information, it seems that clinical supervisors alone made the determination that Luna was a suitable candidate. Additionally, the article mentions that Luna had not yet attained the designation of Canine Good Citizen.

"ASHA has been certifying professionals since 1952." This certification process guarantees that SLPs and audiologists have the "knowledge, skills, and expertise to provide high quality clinical services, and they actively engage in ongoing professional development to keep their certification current."

It is also important for therapy dogs to be to be held to high standards. One such program is the Pet Partners program, the only national registry requiring handler training, screening of animal-handler teams, and re-evaluation every two years. While the CGC is a worthwhile goal for any dog to achieve, it is not comparable to the evaluation process that Pet Partners teams must complete. The Pet Partners' test goes beyond the CGC skill test by including an aptitude test, handler test and health screening.

I feel it is vital for SLPs who are considering using a therapy dog to understand the importance of holding ourselves and our therapy dogs to "high standards."

Sherri L. Rusch, Warrensburg, Mo.

Suggestions for the Leader

As one who recalls ASHA magazine, I offer three requests and a comment.

Please list author names when summarizing studies published in ASHA's scholarly journals (e.g., pages 33–35 in the July 2013 issue). Byline the writer of the summary. Failure to identify authors suggests the Leader staff did the intellectual work, which is not so.

Please use judgment in publishing ads that insult men (e.g., the ad on p. 57 of the July 2013 issue). I can't be insulted, but what about that too-rare, hypothetical 18-year-old male considering a career in speech and hearing. Perhaps the message received by this innocent soul is "Look elsewhere."

Please include the names and duties of the Leader staff on the masthead. Such information appears online, but as an opaque "about" link, and without indication of professional credentials. A disclaimer of warranty is fine, but does not temper the responsibilities of those who produce the publication. If the Leader is not peer-reviewed, that should be made clear.

The new look is definitely "contemporary commercial," rather than "stuffy professional" like JAMA, or "iconoclastic technical" like New Scientist. As are we all, it appears.

Michael R. Chial, Fort Atkinson, Wis.


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