October 1, 2013 Columns

Spreading the Word: Leveraging ASHA's New Public Education Campaign Locally

Again and again, local media take national issues and tailor them to the communities they serve. We've written in the past about how this approach gives ASHA members opportunities to play important roles. Media are always on the lookout for experts, and you have expertise to provide.

This point is particularly relevant in light of ASHA's new year-long public education campaign—Identify the Signs—now in full swing. Launched September 18th, the campaign encompasses broadcast, print and radio public service announcements in English and Spanish; a U.S. media tour with ASHA's 2013 President Patricia Prelock; and a variety of other activities that encourage people to learn how to recognize (and to seek help for) communications disorders.

This broad outreach is being done through ASHA's National Office, but there is ample opportunity for ASHA members to be directly involved. Indeed, the professional experiences of ASHA's members were the impetus for the campaign. Some may recall that we polled members last spring on the topic of early detection). One of our key findings: Almost half of respondents said that lack of awareness is the leading barrier to early detection of communication disorders.

For local media putting their own spin on this national campaign, who better to hear from then the speech-language pathologists and audiologists working in the community? For our members, in addition to the larger benefit that comes from increased awareness of communication disorders and the professions of speech-language pathology and audiology, getting involved can build your presence in the community. Specific tips on how you can approach the media can be found in a past Spreading the Word column.

ASHA wants to make it easy for you to participate at the grassroots level. To do this, we've developed a member toolkit for your use. In it, you will find:

  • a sample press release;
  • print and digital posters;
  • brochures and other products;
  • social media badges that can be posted on your social profiles to show your support;
  • and much more!

These materials are meant to be used with media, as well as with patients, families, and others in the community. We encourage you to use the press release template and send to it local reporters (personalize it with your information), utilize the brochures and other products in your daily work (bulk copies can be ordered through the ASHA store), share the website URL on your social media networks, and do whatever else you can to help us spread our important message to learn the signs, share the information, and get help.

More details about the campaign are available online. For questions about the campaign, guidance on how to apply it locally, or to volunteer to serve as a media source, e-mail pr@asha.org. You are also invited to e-mail us your feedback about the campaign and its member tools and resources.

Francine Pierson, is ASHA's public relations manager fpierson@asha.org

cite as: Pierson, F. (2013, October 01). Spreading the Word: Leveraging ASHA's New Public Education Campaign Locally. The ASHA Leader.


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