In October 2010, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) formed a new special interest group (SIG 18) with the admirable goals of education for telepractice professionals, leadership, and advocacy for the industry.
The idea of joining a professional organization with over 130,000 members can seem pretty intimidating, but joining a special interest group makes it easier to find like-minded members and colleagues. Much like social networking sites, the telepractice social interest group provides member-to-member opportunities to share information, learn new stuff, and interact with every level of the profession from recognized experts in the field to students.
Aside from the networking potential, when you join ASHA’s telepractice SIG, you are entitled to benefits, including:
- Access to Perspectives, an online magazine chock full of topics focused on the business, challenges, and practice of an SLP telepractice. There are online studies and opportunities for earning credits.
- The SIG email discussion list, a group-only list that allows members to pose questions and review hot topics and best practices posted by other members…often including leading experts in the field. One of the most valuable resources of membership is personal access to knowledgeable experts.
- A private group forum, where members can discuss issues and share knowledge with each other. The forum is also where you’ll find resources, policy documents, and information posted before they are available on the general site.
- Savings on SIG sponsored educational opportunities, meetings, and other events
Of course, the best reason to join a professional organization and a special interest group is to advance your career. Employers love to see professional affiliations and ongoing education noted on a resume. It’s the sort of thing that sets an applicant apart, demonstrating commitment and dedication to your position. It’s a competitive market, and you need every edge you can muster to position yourself as the best possible candidate.
A Word of Caution
If you decide to join a SIG, don’t waste it. Be an active participant, and consider your posts carefully. Before weighing in on an emotional or political issue, evaluate your response carefully. The person you insult may wind up working with you…or worse, as your supervisor. Make sure that the reputation that precedes you to a new position is one you’d want to have.
If you’re a member of ASHA’s telepractice SIG, share! How do you use this resource? Has it benefited you? We’d love to hear your stories and opinions about the new group.
To join, follow the instructions on the ASHA SIG page.