The No-Barriers Mindset
This year's recipient of ASHA's Annie Glenn Award, Erik Weihenmayer, is no stranger to overcoming challenges and seeking new heights.
by Kellie Rowden-Racette
To say Erik Weihenmayer is a world-class outdoor adventurer
barely scratches the surface. In 2001, this former middle school teacher and
wrestling coach reached the summit of Mount Everest, and then finished climbing
to the summits of the highest mountains on each continent in 2008 when he
reached the top of Carstenz Pyramid, the tallest peak in Australia. In addition
to mountain climbing, he also paraglides, skis, mountain bikes, and now, at age
45, is learning to solo white-water kayak.
Did we mention that he is blind?
"In 1997, I kind of made a bold decision to make a life in the mountains as an adventurer," explains Weihenmayer. "It's not something a private equity firm probably would have invested in, but it all worked out and it set me on an exciting journey with some amazing teams."
Weihenmayer will receive the Annie Glenn Award at the 2013
ASHA Convention. ASHA's highest honor is named for the wife of Sen. John Glenn, who overcame a severe stutter and is widely known for her advocacy for people with communication disorders. The "Annie" recognizes individuals who demonstrate her spirit.
Weihenmayer grew up in Connecticut, the youngest of four
siblings in a very active family. As a child he was always looking for
adventure. In elementary school, he was diagnosed with the rare condition
juvenile retinoschisis, which ultimately took his sight when he was 13 years
old. Although the loss was gradual, he remembers the day when he realized he
truly couldn't see.
"I was losing it by bits and pieces for years, but my brain was protecting itself, and I could make excuses why I couldn't see," he said. "Then one day right before my freshman year I went to take a step and couldn't see where I was going."
To say that he immediately adapted to being blind and began
pushing boundaries would be wrong. Weihenmayer recalls several years of being
angry and unable to connect with his new reality. Although his family was very
supportive and urged him toward pushing through the anger, ultimately the
change, he said, had to come from him. He says there was no one transformative
"aha" moment, but rather a series of several incidents that changed his outlook. One such moment that he remembers clearly took place when he was on a dock with his family at age 15. He wanted to walk down the dock but didn't want to use his cane.
"My parents kept telling me to use my cane and that I would be safer, but I didn't want to. I didn't want to need it, and I didn't want to be blind," he recalls. Moments later he fell off the dock and landed on his back on the deck of a boat. Although he wasn't seriously hurt, the message to him was loud and clear: He was blind and needed to use his cane and had better get used to it.
"I was just frustrated and felt shoved to the sidelines. I could hear the happiness and joy of my friends and family around me, but I wasn't a part of it," says Weihenmayer. "I realized it didn't really matter what I wished my situation was because unless I started confronting reality and getting back in the thick of things, I wasn't going to be around much longer."
And so he did. Weihenmayer began to push his boundaries by
joining the wrestling team in high school. Soon he began to realize that he was
more capable than he realized. He credits these early experiences to his
family's support. Sadly, his mother was killed in a car crash when he was 16, but he remembers that she always was his biggest cheerleader and always found ways for him to try things and be included. After her death, his father took on a bigger supporting role and helped him navigate his next adventures.
Weihenmayer recalls, for example, being in college and
telling his father he wanted to skydive. Instead of following his first
reaction of saying no and that it was too dangerous, his father discussed with
him the reasons he wanted to skydive, what it meant, what the consequences
were, and if he had a plan on how to execute it. After hearing out young Erik,
his father told him to go for it.
"He wanted to make sure I had thought it through and wasn't being crazy," he says. "Once he realized I was being very methodical, he said, ‘I can be anti-everything Erik wants to do or I can be your partner. I want to be your partner.' It was pretty miraculous for him to do that and he is still doing that."
Today, Weihenmayer's father still supports his son, as do Weihenmayer's wife and two children. Weihenmayer has devoted himself to helping others reach their full potential. He is the author of the memoir "Touch the Top of the World" and co-author of "The Adversity Advantage: Turning Everyday Struggles Into Everyday Greatness."
Weihenmayer also appears in "Farther Than the Eye Can See," a documentary of his Everest climb, and three other films. He has won numerous awards and has carried the torches in both summer and winter Olympic Games. His books and motivational talks are aspects of that desire to help others. But Weihenmayer also "walks the walk" by working with programs that foster leadership.
His outreach includes helping start a nonprofit
organization, No Barriers, which brings people together into a community that
shares ideas to achieve challenging goals. Through Global Explorers,
Weihenmayer has worked with students to become responsible citizens who strive
to make the world a more equitable, sustainable place now and for generations
to come. Under the same umbrella, the unique Soldiers to Summits program uses
mountaineering as a metaphor to help disabled veterans reintegrate into
society. And Blind Skiers Edge is a program that enhances the skiing experience
for people who are blind.
Weihenmayer's goal is to make the No Barriers program and mindset a household word. "It's not to say that there is a lack of barriers—there are lots of barriers—but what are the tools we can find to break them down?" he says. "If I could choose my legacy, I want to be the person who not only taught this mindset but also lived it and passed it on to future generations."
To learn more about Erik Weihenmayer's story and programs visit his website. Read more about ASHA's Annie Award at the ASHA website.
Kellie Rowden-Racette is the print and online editor for the
Did You Know?
- SLPs looking for information on reporting G-codes for Medicare Part B patients can find everything they need to know on the ASHA website.
- You can find research information—ranging from reports about awards, grants and funding, to survey data about members in a variety of practice settings at ASHA's Research webpage.
- You can easily contact your members of Congress, receive regular communication about important legislation, and learn about advocacy events occurring in your congressional district and state at ASHA's Grassroots Advocacy webpage.
- When you join the ASHA Community, you can locate and connect with other professionals who share you interests.
- The new Practice Portal offers one-stop access to resources that help guide evidence-based decision-making on clinical and professional issues.
Call for Nominations for ASHA Board of Directors
Contribute to the strength of the professions by submitting
nominations for any of five positions by Nov. 20.
Nominations for five positions on ASHA's 2015–2017 Board of Directors will be open Oct. 16 through Nov. 20 (3 p.m. ET).
"Nominations require your thoughtful attention, as they set the stage for the leadership of your professional community today and tomorrow," said Shelly Chabon, 2013 chair of the Committee on Nominations and Elections. "When you participate in the nomination process, you contribute to the strength and advancement of the professions of audiology and speech-language pathology, which benefits all of our members."
According to Chabon, nominees should be ASHA members who
have a willingness to engage in active deliberation, leadership skills that
will advance ASHA's strategic plan, and a commitment to addressing the professional needs of audiologists and speech-language pathologists.
The terms of offices are Jan. 1, 2015, through Dec. 31,
2017. Five positions will be open:
- President-elect (one year each as President-elect,
President, and Past President)
- Vice President for Finance
- Vice President for Government Relations and Public Policy
- Vice President for Standards and Ethics in Audiology
- Vice President for Speech-Language Pathology Practice
Nominations must be
21 Receive Audiology Travel Awards
Twenty-one AuD and PhD students have received awards to attend the 2013 ASHA Convention in Chicago. ASHA has sponsored the Audiology/Hearing Science Research Travel Award (ARTA) since 2008 to help students interested in research in audiology and/or hearing science to attend the convention.
The award recipients, who represent 16 university programs throughout the country, will have opportunities at convention to learn about the latest research in audiology, connect with leaders in the field, meet and network with peers, and learn about mechanisms and strategies to further their research interests.
For more information, including the names of 2013 and former recipients, visit the ARTA webpage. The 2014 application will be available in March.
Access Audiology Tackles Genetics in November
The November issue of ASHA Access Audiology focuses on basic principles of and up-to-date information on current genetics topics as they pertain to audiologists and speech-language pathologists. Genetics is a continuously changing and complex field that is critical for the understanding of many disorders health care professionals treat today. A review of the genetic mechanisms associated with hearing disorders, explanations of the various types of genetic testing, and when to refer to a geneticist or genetic counselor will be discussed.
ASHA Access Audiology is a bimonthly clinical e-newsletter. Read the current issue. To subscribe, send a blank e-mail with the word "subscribe" in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NSSLHA Donates to Small Steps in Speech
The National Student Speech Language Hearing Association
will donate the proceeds of its 2013–2014 "NSSLHA Loves" campaign to Small Steps in Speech, a nonprofit organization that provides funding to children with speech and language disorders and organizations that serve children with these needs.
Every year, local NSSLHA chapters host fundraising
activities to raise money for organizations that assist individuals with
communication needs. NSSLHA began the program in 1990 to promote civic and
social responsibility by raising money to support national organizations for
people living with communication disorders.
Speech-language pathologist Amanda Charney founded Small Steps in Speech to honor her fiancé, Marc J. Small, a medic and Green Beret in
the U.S. Army. Their long-terms plans included
marriage and a private practice for Charney, to be named Small Steps in
Speech—a play on their surname and a description of the steps children take to
become better communicators.
In February 2009, Small was killed in action in Afghanistan.
"Marc supported the growth and improvement of all children and it is fitting that these funds will allow children the opportunity to find their voice through therapy," Charney said. "Just as Marc was a hero to our country, I believe that our organizations are doing heroic work in helping so many children improve their communication, which strengthens individuals, families, schools and communities." Since 2010, when grants were first awarded, SSIS has awarded more than $286,000 to more than 185 children and organizations throughout the United States.
Call for ASHA Advisory Councils Nominations
Do you know an ASHA member who:
- Is interested in advising and supporting the work of ASHA's Board of Directors?
- Enjoys taking part in active discussion on critical
- Is willing to volunteer time and talent to advance the
If so—and if that person's state of residence is listed below—the Committee on Nominations and Elections urges you to nominate that professional to serve on the 2015–2017 Audiology Advisory Council or the Speech-Language Pathology Council.
The nomination period is open Oct. 16 through Nov. 20 (3
p.m. ET). Nominations (including self-nominations, which are strongly
encouraged), must be submitted online.
The following states are seeking nominations for Audiology
Advisory Council positions: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California,
Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia,
Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas.
The following states are seeking nominations for
Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Council positions: North Dakota, Ohio,
Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota,
Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia,
Wisconsin, Wyoming, International, U.S. Territories.
The term for all positions is Jan. 1, 2015, through Dec. 31,
ASHA CEUs: From Convention Courses to CE Registry Transcript
"The Magic of Teamwork" highlights the 2013 ASHA Convention, but it also highlights the relationship between ASHA Continuing Education and members looking to achieve their professional development goals. Earning ASHA CEUs at the convention takes the teamwork of ASHA's professional development offerings, the individual member and the ASHA CE Registry.
At convention, attendees can earn up to 2.55 ASHA CEUs at
their choice of more than 2,300 oral seminars and poster presentations—plus
ticketed short courses.
Team with the ASHA CE Registry and ASHA Professional
- Register for the ASHA convention.
- Keep track of the convention sessions you attend.
- Complete your ASHA convention session report that lists all
the courses you attended.
- Submit the session report electronically by Dec. 2, 2013.
- Subscribe to the ASHA CE Registry for 2013.
The ASHA CE Registry will add the CEUs you earned at the
convention to your CE transcript. The CE Registry also:
- Provides 24/7 access to your ASHA CE Registry transcript. Go
to the Continuing Education page and click on "View Your ASHA CE Registry Transcript." Log in with your e-mail address and ASHA password.
- Notifies the certification department when you have earned
the 3.0 ASHA CEUs members must accrue every 36 months to maintain
- Confers the Award for Continuing Education when you accrue
7.0 ASHA CEUs in a 36-month period.
In addition to the ASHA convention, more than 525
ASHA-approved CE providers offer thousands of courses to audiologists and
speech-language pathologists every year. In 2013 alone, more than 28,000
courses have already been offered. To locate upcoming courses, click on "Find a CEU Course" at the ASHA website. The ASHA-approved CE provider insignia on providers' promotional materials indicates that the organization offering the course has met quality standards for professional continuing education.
See what he ASHA Board of Directors recently voted on [PDF].
2013 CSD Education Survey Opens
ASHA encourages the more than 300 academic institutions
offering undergraduate through doctoral programs in communication sciences and
disorders to complete the 2013 Communication Sciences and Disorders Education
Survey, which opened Sept. 4.
The survey collects key data on CSD education, such as
number of applications, admissions, enrollment, graduation, first employment
post-graduation, and more. The profiles of programs that complete the survey
will be featured in EdFIND, ASHA's online searchable database of CSD training programs. Prospective students use EdFIND—one of the most visited pages on the ASHA website and the top-viewed page on mobile devices—to look for and learn about CSD programs.
Survey information also populates the national and
individual state aggregate data reports. These
reports, published by ASHA and the Council of Academic Programs in
Communication Sciences and Disorders, provide information about the number of
students in the CSD pipeline.
In 2012, 84 percent of institutions completed the survey and
contributed valuable data. The reports from that data, for academic year
2011–2012, are now available online. For additional
information, visit the Academic Programs webpage or contact email@example.com.
Access Academics and Research to Focus on Interprofessional
The October issue of Access Academics and Research focuses
on interprofessional education in communication sciences and disorders. Authors
from Wichita State University—Kathy Coufal, professor, chair and doctoral
coordinator, and Julie Scherz, associate professor and graduate
coordinator—renew the call to action for CSD providers to become recognized,
integral partners in IPE. The article discusses the current status of IPE in
the field and what steps are needed to become central players in the global IPE
movement. Also included are examples of IPE activities implemented by Wichita
State University to cultivate interprofessional competencies in its students
ASHA Access Academics and Research is a bimonthly electronic
newsletter that addresses the specific needs of faculty, researchers,
post-doctoral fellows and PhD students. The current issue is accessible online.
To subscribe, send a blank e-mail with the word "subscribe" in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Apply for Clinical Practice Research Institute by Dec. 9
Applications for ASHA's sixth annual Clinical Practice Research Institute, which helps researchers prepare grant applications to support clinical practice research, are due Dec. 9.
Clinical practice research investigates treatment methods
and approaches and their outcomes, and is critical to supporting evidence-based
practice in communication sciences and disorders.
The institute is for scientists who are advancing or
shifting their research focus to clinical practice topics: surveillance,
prevention, identification, diagnosis, assessment, treatment, outcomes
measurement, quality improvement, implementation science and/or knowledge
translation. Applicants must be PhDs who have previously submitted a grant
proposal for federal research funding, and can be scientists new to clinical
practice research or experienced researchers who are ready to propose grants on
practice research topics.
The program, which begins with a meeting March 6–8, 2014, at
ASHA's national office in Rockville, Md., will include presentations by experts and funding agency staff on the principles and methods of clinical practice research and the funding mechanisms available to support it. Participants work with an assigned mentor or their chosen collaborator to develop their grant proposals. Mentoring/collaborating pairs continue to work together remotely to complete grant proposals by the end of the year.
Visit Clinical Practice Research Institute for more details and the
2014 Leadership Development to Focus on Health Care,
The application period for the first Leadership Development Program of 2014, designed specifically for ASHA member audiologists and
speech-language pathologists in health care settings, opens Oct. 15 and closes
The year-long program begins Thursday, April 10, 2014, in
conjunction with ASHA's Health Care/Business Institute in Las Vegas. Thirty participants will be chosen, with preference given to those who are affiliates of Special Interest Groups or past members of the National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Applicants may not have prior service on an ASHA or SIG committee, board, council, working group or task force.
After the opening workshop, the program continues over the
course of a year with multiple webinars. Those in the program must identify and
develop a learning project and participate in a learning team with program
By identifying and developing a learning project, each
participant applies the leadership techniques and personal development goals
established during the program. The project may focus on the workplace or on a
community or other volunteer organization. Examples include:
- A project for the state association.
- Developing a support group or family training program.
- Working with a team to implement a new clinical or
- Working to advocate for reimbursement, legislation or policy
A second program—for emerging leaders—is designed for those
who want to develop or enhance leadership skills required to become a state
association or ASHA volunteer leader. The application period for that program,
which begins in July 2014 at the ASHA national office in Rockville, Md., will
open in January 2014. Details will follow in a future issue of the Leader.
For more information,
contact Haley Jones, volunteer operations manager, at email@example.com.
SIGs Welcome New Coordinating Committee Members
Members of 16 ASHA Special Interest Groups recently held
elections to fill vacancies on their 2014–2016 coordinating committees, which
are responsible for planning and coordinating SIG activities.
The newly elected coordinating committee members are:
- 1, Language Learning and Education—Catherine M. Constable,
Karole A. Howland
- 3, Voice and Voice Disorders—Rita R. Patel
- 4, Fluency and Fluency Disorders—Charles A. Osborne
- 5, Speech Science and Orofacial Disorders—Scott A. Dailey
- 6, Hearing and Hearing Disorders: Research and
Diagnostics—Susan Gordon Hickey, Wafaa A. Kaf
- 7, Aural Rehabilitation and Its Instrumentation—Jill
- 8, Public Health Issues Related to Hearing and
Balance—Roberta B. Aungst
- 9, Hearing and Hearing Disorders in Childhood—Jeffrey L.
Simmons, Kathryn S. Wilson
- 10, Issues in Higher Education—Angela R. Anthony, John W.
- 11, Administration and Supervision—Christi M. Masters,
Jennifer A. Ostergren
- 12, Augmentative and Alternative Communication—Meher
Banajee, Barbara W. Braddock
- 13, Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders—Julie A. Blair,
Laurie E. Sterling
- 14, Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and
Linguistically Diverse Populations—Maria L. Munoz
- 15, Gerontology—Mary Beth Mason-Baughman, Betsi (Tina)
- 16, School-Based Issues—Carol B. Fleming, Virginia A. Kelly
- 18, Telepractice—Susan L. Grogan-Johnson, Lyn R. Tindall
For more information about the SIGs, go to the Special Interest Groups website.
Three Students Win Ethics Essay Awards
ASHA's Board of Ethics announces the three winners of the 2013 Student Ethics Essay competition. Forty-six students submitted essays
addressing workplace dilemmas.
First place—Karen Cuthbertson, Western Carolina University,
Cullowhee, N.C.: "Scope of Practice Workplace Dilemma: Navigating Difficult Terrain Gracefully" (National Student Speech Language Hearing Association chapter advisor: Tracie Rice).
Second place—Rachael Bauleke, Minnesota State University-Mankato:
"Dilemmas in the Workplace: A Guide to Ethical Decision Making" (NSSLHA chapter advisor: Renee Shellum).
Third place—Margaret Searcy, Western Carolina University:
"Ethical Dilemmas in the Workplace: Can We Determine What Is Most Ethical?" (NSSLHA chapter advisor: Tracie Rice, AuD, CCC-A).
Read the winning essays from 2013 and past years.
The essay competition, part of ASHA's efforts to enhance ethics education activities, is designed to encourage undergraduate and graduate students in communication sciences and disorders to think about ethical decision making and to increase their awareness of situations that could pose ethical dilemmas as they prepare to start their careers.
Eligibility for the 2014 competition has been expanded to
include all students enrolled in any undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, or
entry-level graduate CSD program.
Board of Ethics Decision
The ASHA Board of Ethics has found speech-language
pathologist Charla L. Douglas of Russellville, Tenn., in violation of the
association's Code of Ethics (2010).
By keeping inaccurate and inadequate records and admittedly
taking records out of the school building, the respondent violated:
Principle I, Rule M: Individuals shall adequately maintain
and appropriately secure records of professional services rendered, research
and scholarly activities conducted, and products dispensed, and they shall
allow access to these records only when authorized or when required by law.
By submitting billing and keeping therapy notes for dates
the children were not present at school, the respondent violated:
Principle I, Rule O: Individuals shall not charge for
services not rendered, nor shall they misrepresent services rendered, products
dispensed, or research and scholarly activities conducted.
By the respondent's inability to substantiate the delivery of services with appropriate documentation, the respondent violated:
Principle IV, Rule C: Individuals shall not engage in dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or
The sanction imposed is censure, effective Aug. 12,
Practice Portal Adds Two Topics
Want to know the evidence behind specific treatment options
for social communication disorders? Wondering about the audiologic test battery
for children age birth to 6 months suspected of having permanent hearing
These two topics—social communication disorders in childhood
and permanent hearing loss—are the most recently added pages to ASHA's Practice Portal, which offers access to easy-to-use
information, evidence and expert opinion that clinicians need to make practice
The Portal launched in March 2013 with a limited number of
topics. As more topics are developed, they will be announced in the ASHA
Community and the Leader, and on Facebook and Twitter. The portal is still in
development, and members are encouraged to provide feedback. ASHA is also
looking for volunteer subject matter experts, reviewers and beta testers for
new topics. Interested members can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.