Q2 President's Message

By Jordan Bowman, ISHA President

Published in the January 2024 issue of the ISHA Voice

“Fight for the things that you care about.
But do it in a way that will lead others to join you”
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg

As we welcome this new year, I cannot help but reflect on the choices I’ve made in years past, including my choice to change my career path to become a speech-language pathologist.

I had already completed my undergraduate degree in business administration and was working full-time at an art gallery. I was very much inspired by all the beauty and creativity around me at that time, but I was clearly missing something. I did not feel fulfilled in my day-to-day work. With some deep reflection and mentorship from friends and colleagues, I realized what I was missing. I wanted to spend my days helping people. I decided to go back to school and pursue my master’s degree in speech-language pathology to fight for the things that I cared about: Helping people and helping people to communicate.

ISHA is an organization dedicated to fighting for a world where all people communicate effectively, hear optimally, and swallow safely. You will see similar language reflected in our new ISHA Vision Statement found under the Who We Are section of our ISHA website. The ISHA Executive Board met in November to create a Strategic Plan including new Vision and Mission Statements allowing the association to focus on agreed upon initiatives for the upcoming years. We are so excited to continue to collectively advocate and fight for the needs of individuals with speech, language, hearing, and swallowing differences at the local, state, and federal government levels. 

ISHA cares about its students and licensed SLP, SLPA, and AuD professionals. On January first of this year, a section of the Illinois Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Practice Act was amended to include a third pathway to becoming licensed as an SLPA in the state of Illinois. The ISHA Executive Board, members of the Legislative & Regulatory Affairs Committee, several ISHA past presidents, members of the School Affairs Committee, and our ISHA lobbyist Jim Morphew have been working diligently (many many hours!) to clarify the requirements as currently indicated in the Practice Act. The clarifications, which may include new legislation, are expected to provide guidance regarding where and how to obtain the 100 hours of supervision obtained outside an undergraduate program. The current focus on SLPA licensure in Illinois, and the hope with this legislation, is that it will provide greater opportunity for SLPAs to be licensed and therefore provide support and assistance to SLPs. 

The 64th Annual Illinois Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention in Rosemont, Illinois, this February 9th and 10th is an awesome time to collaborate with colleagues that also fight for the things that they care about. This year’s fully in-person program will provide each of us with high-quality education and networking opportunities. Foster your clinical practice by attending the many continuing education courses presented by experts in the fields of audiology and speech-language pathology. Check out the exhibit hall and discover the newest products and services while snagging some swag. Support our Illinois students by attending this year’s Knowledge Quest on Friday (and see how many questions you answer correctly this year!) Attend this year’s Honors Breakfast on Saturday to celebrate our Honorees and support this year’s new scholarship fundraiser. We also invite you to participate in our scheduled committee meetings to find out more how you can fight for the things that you care about in a way that will lead others to join you.

I am grateful that through this chosen career in speech-language pathology I can see the beauty and creativity all around me while also being fulfilled personally and professionally. ISHA plays a huge role in that fulfillment for me, and I know it does for many other ISHA members. I hope that 2024 brings each and every one of you joy and fulfillment. If there is anything at all that ISHA can do for you, please reach out (membership@ishail.org). We are here to advocate for the things you care about. Cheers to a new year and new beginnings!