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ASHA's Envisioned Future: 2025

It is 2025, and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)—the professional, scientific, and credentialing association for audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists, audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel, and students—leads advocacy efforts  for people with communication and related disorders. ASHA also plays an unparalleled role in advancing, sustaining, and promoting the discipline of communication sciences and disorders, related functions, and methods of communication. The Association's contributions to enriching the professions and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), resources, advocacy, and collaboration with related professional entities are well known and respected. When ASHA members, policy makers, payers, federal and state agency personnel, media, other professionals, and consumers need guidance, knowledge, and advice on standards, credentials, scope of practice, research, legislation, regulations, and clinical information related to communication sciences and related disorders—including swallowing and balance disorders—they communicate with ASHA.

ASHA is the association of choice for professionals in human communication sciences and disorders. The relationship among the professions within the discipline is apparent in the programs, products, and services developed to serve member needs. The Association's long-standing commitment to the integral relationship between the professions of audiology and speech-language pathology is the cornerstone of its organizational efforts.

ASHA supports the preparation of highly qualified service providers in audiology and speech-language pathology. ASHA's standards for certification and accreditation are reflected in all state licensure/registration and credentialing programs and in all communication sciences and disorders academic programs. ASHA respects and supports the preparation and credentialing of audiology and speech-language pathology service providers in the global marketplace. The Association has expanded recognition of credentials worldwide and has negotiated and established new, formalized, multilateral recognition agreements. The continuum of service providers is consistently and fully utilized in service delivery, including certified audiologists, speech-language pathologists, certified clinical specialists in audiology and speech-language pathology, and assistants/associates supervised by ASHA-certified audiologists and speech-language pathologists.

ASHA and other audiology, speech-language pathology, and speech, language, and hearing science organizations worldwide—along with organizations that are focused on aspects of human health, functioning, and education—have developed relationships and systems to enhance the interchange of professional knowledge, research, and education. The goal of such interchange is to promote recognition of the professions through national and international collaboration on issues related to communication sciences and disorders.

Professional practice informs and is informed by research, clinical expertise, and the values and preferences of the individuals served as well as their families. Audiologists and speech-language pathologists have timely and ready access to, and advance the use of, current research, technological advances, expert opinion, and client/student-centered information. Strong clinical and research partnerships contribute to the knowledge base in the discipline. There is sufficient capacity to drive, strengthen, and enhance the scientific base of the discipline. ASHA plays a central role in data collection and knowledge compilation and transfer to members, consumers, and other professionals.

Members and affiliates recognize the importance of evidence-based practice and actively seek evidence that serves as the basis for clinical decision making. Adhering to the principles of evidence-based practice, advances in relevant health care disciplines, prevention, education, habilitation, rehabilitation, and accompanying research and technology has improved functioning, participation and health, education, and vocational and recreational outcomes across the life span of persons with communication disorders.

Professional practice is more effectively aligned with reimbursement systems that reflect a more comprehensive, person- and family-centered, and collaborative practice model that increases access to such services. ASHA members play an active role in reimbursement processes, effectively demonstrating the value of their services as well as empowering and educating patients and clients to understand access and reimbursement.

An interprofessional education (IPE) approach to training and educating new professionals has resulted in access to a broader supply of qualified faculty to meet the teaching, scholarly research, and technological needs of academic programs as they strive to enhance the scientific base of the discipline and educate qualified audiologists and speech-language pathologists to meet consumer needs. Members engage in interprofessional collaborative practice (IPP).

The Association opposes and addresses systemic racism and discrimination in the professions and their impact on communication, health, and education. Under-represented populations are actively recruited and successfully retained; students and professionals are heard, respected, and safe, and are thriving in the professions of audiology, speech-language pathology, and speech, language, and hearing sciences. Equitable and inclusive policies are in place within the Association, and throughout the discipline, and are routinely practiced by ASHA members. ASHA’s membership comprises individuals from different demographic backgrounds and identities; the Association benefits from the collective strength of members’ experiences, values, and skills, which are universally sought as critical contributions to the advancement of science and practice of the professions in communication sciences and disorders. Members and affiliates continually strive to maintain the highest level of knowledge and skills necessary to provide services effectively in their preferred area(s) of practice in communication sciences and disorders, and to seek specialization when desired. Members use their expertise in a culturally competent and responsive manner; and audiology and speech-language pathology services are valued and in high demand.

ASHA provides recognized value to its members and affiliates. As a result of ASHA's efforts in advocacy, the public recognizes audiologists and speech-language pathologists by their titles, and understands and respects them for the vital role they play in the prevention, evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders and the generation and dissemination of scholarship related to these services.

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