As ASHA’s Identify the Signs campaign approaches its sixth anniversary, the importance of its messaging continues. The latest indication of this necessity is ASHA’s recent polling of U.S. parents, assessing their awareness of the early signs of communication disorders. The campaign recently renewed efforts to promote the benefits of early identification and treatment by ASHA members—and offers many ready-to-use resources for members. Check out some of the latest news:

New, Comprehensive Polling of Parents
ASHA launched its most recent publicity efforts around the campaign during Better Hearing & Speech Month in May. ASHA partnered with a well-known polling firm, YouGov, to survey parents of children ages 0–8 for the first time as part of the campaign. In past campaign efforts, ASHA explored parental knowledge indirectly through member surveys. The results reinforced much of what members have told ASHA: Many parents don’t recognize the early warning signs. However, some findings were also promising—and gratifying. Key findings include the following:

  • 1 in 4 U.S. parents of children ages 0–8 have had concerns about their child’s ability to communicate.
  • 73% of all parents who had concerns sought treatment.
  • Of parents who sought treatment for their child, 8 in 10 reported that they perceived “a great deal” or “a good amount” of improvement after treatment.
  • 23% of parents were able to correctly identify 75% or more of the signs of communication disorders provided in the survey. Only 5% were able to correctly identify all the signs of communication disorders provided.

Although ASHA disseminated these results during BHSM via a national broadcast media tour—and featured the results in other high-profile ways (e.g., at a May ASHA Congressional briefing and a June United Nations disability conference), members can continue using these results when making the case for their professional services. Members can also use the results if they are interested in doing local media outreach—to illustrate how common concerns are among parents. Ideal times for such outreach include back to school, start of the new year, and awareness days and months (including, of course, BHSM).

New Collaboration With Baby Navigator
Earlier this summer, the Identify the Signs campaign welcomed Baby Navigator as its newest partner. Baby Navigator is a comprehensive online resource that provides a variety of tools for parents and professionals to track a child’s social communication development as well as identify the early signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It was created by a team led by Amy Wetherby, PhD, CCC-SLP, an ASHA Fellow and the director of the Autism Institute at Florida State University’s College of Medicine.

Baby Navigator offers a variety of tools that ASHA members can use in their work with parents, including

  • photo look books showing specific milestones in children month to month (ages 9–16 months);
  • a video library containing clips of children demonstrating typical social behaviors from ages 7 to 24 months, along with clips of children exhibiting early signs of a communication delay or ASD; and
  • an enhanced screening tool for communication delay starting at 9 months and for ASD starting at 12 months called the Social Communication (SoCo) CheckUp.

Learn more (and share!) via this podcast and consumer article.

Other Campaign Resources
Existing campaign resources that members can share include the following:

Questions? Email pr@asha.org.