American Speech Language Hearing Association Denies Spelling Efficacy
We're used to being told that autism has no treatments or cures. We've taken beatings for decades regarding therapies and medical interventions, and guess what? Despite these beatings, our morale ALWAYS improves, because we never give up and rarely listen to so called "experts" like the nudniks at the American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA.) Experts in the case of "evidence based" science are often folks who have hit the jackpot known as Insurance Reimbursements for offering the therapies that universities have been paid to study and rubber stamp by industry. My daughters had school based speech therapy from age 3 through 22. Their therapists were lovely women ( we did not have a single male speech therapist in 57 cumulative school years.) They meant well. They imparted what they were taught. They were kind. They tried. They made ZERO headway. I mean zero. Nothing the school SLPs did boosted my girls' ability to communicate or to make their needs known. Not even the exalted iPad - with the $300 apps one friend described as dropping 100 flashcards on the floor and expecting a sentence. Even worse with school based Occupational Therapy. Or as I call it, "The Pencil Holding Guild." Not until we had a private therapist using reflex integration did we see benefits from OT. Work she could NOT do in a school based setting.
JB Handley will tell you more about how the ASHA which is the organization that is supposed to champion communication, shuts it down. His book, cowritten with his son Jamie, is our AofA Book Club book of the day. We're featuring books on our Instagram, and in our sidebar, which nobody sees any longer because we all read on mobile devices.
Excerpted from JB's blog, click to read the full post with video and much more ASHA tells 50 million nonspeakers, “you aren’t capable.”
September 17, 2022
PORTLAND, Oregon—We’re finishing up the filming for our new documentary, SPELLERS, a movie inspired by the book my son Jamie and I wrote in 2021 titled Underestimated: an Autism Miracle. Briefly, it's the story of the miraculous discovery my family made that our 17-year-old son Jamie was cognitively brilliant but “trapped” inside his own body. What freed him from this self-described “silent prison”? A communication method known as Spelling 2 Communicate, heretofore referred to as “S2C.” Here’s a great video primer on S2C:
Today, the miracle with Jamie continues unabated. Jamie no longer needs anyone to hold the keyboard for him. As you can see in the picture at the top of this post, Jamie is able to spell his thoughts and feelings independently, even with two cameramen filming his every move (well, you can’t actually see it yet, but trust me you will soon, that scene is in the movie!). At home, without the Hollywood klieg lights on, it gets even better: Jamie is now typing with two hands on a flat keyboard, communicating the way most of us do.
I’m guessing half the people reading this article don’t know what the ASHA acronym stands for (thanks for sticking with me!) so here you go: American Speech Language Hearing Association. Basically, it’s a trade group that represents more than 200,000 speech language pathologists, is based in Rockville, MD, and is run by a woman named Vicki Deal-Williams.
For those of you not in the autism world, Speech Language Pathologists (we call them “SLPs”) are a big deal. They work with our kids. They try to help them talk. Some of them are great, amazing people. And, those who call themselves SLPs only do so for one reason: they have received the accreditation of ASHA. These credentials allow them to refer to themselves as SLPs, and these hard-earned credentials are everything to them. Therefore, what ASHA says carries huge weight with them, and they sure don’t want their credential pulled by not marching to their tune.
And, in 2018, ASHA did something with their weight that has had a giant impact on the roughly 50 million nonspeakers in the world: they issued a proclamation stating that what my son was doing on a keyboard was a magic trick, was not coming from him, and that SLPs should run, not walk, away from ever using a letterboard and should actively discourage parents from trying S2C, too.... Read more here.
People have always had trouble accepting new methods of teaching, I clearly recall myself in about 1950, learning to read with my mother. I didnt talk about this because I heard people muttering disapprovingly about how one should never try to teach kids to read. It had to be done only with a TEACHER . I ran a nursery school in India for many years. Many of our kids learned to read. Our approach was simple. We will use any method that works and that the kids enjoy. What I learned about education can be expressed simply . For example: Most children are very intelligent. Most kids will learn easily if you present them with work that is sutited to the childs age and ability. Most young childrren will learn easily and not even be aware that they are doing that. it is simply what they are interested in We didnt talk about it but what we wanted was for the child to fiure out for himself. Hey, this is easy. Hey, I can do this reading thing. We rejected the idea that parents or teachers could take the credit for a child learning Could this be the problem with ASHA ? - that THEY want to take the credit for what the child does. I do suspect that this goes a bit further than that, but Im sure this is a large part of the issue with ASHA advocates who feel the need to trash a new method that is obviously successful .
I personally am thrilled to learn about this new advance in autism education. Does anyone else here recall te words of Dr. Kenneth Bock, who said decades ago that he was sure that a large percentage of autistic kids were highly intelligent.
Posted by: Cherry Misra | September 24, 2022 at 01:27 PM
Would it be helpful to people with weak muscle skills and motor control to be able to poke virtual letters in the air !?
I think we are not far from the tech to be able to do this. If anyone thinks this would help comment here and I will see what I can find out.
Posted by: Game techwriter | September 19, 2022 at 03:38 PM
The OT industry is more concerned with ball pits, games, and shoelaces than teaching serious, real life skills or how to create healthy foods/meals. They act all surprised their YOUNG patients are lacking so many skills, I heard of "neurotypical" college kids who can't change a light bulb or do laundry - a few years before this plan-demic struck. Junky, chemical cocktail Lunchables and Dunk-A-Roos are gaining popularity again because of "nostalgia".
Posted by: Visitor | September 19, 2022 at 01:46 PM
I am a young adult with autism and speech therapy help me as a child. I had speech therapy for 10 years from age 3 until age 13 at Long Beach Unified School District. The educated professionals in speech Therapy have every right and professional responsibility to be skeptical about "Spelling to Communicate" . If "Spelling to Communicate" helps your child, good it is a rare success use the technique along with legitimate speech therapy.
New credentials related to speech therapy are in some states such as California are speech therapy assistant which is a 3 year associate degree and a 5 year bachelor degree for intermediate professionals. These semi-professionals help shortages with having speech therapist who need masters degrees. These professionals can use 'Spelling to Communicate" in rare circumstances if it works.
Posted by: Bill | September 19, 2022 at 11:56 AM
I read the book and it is terrific. Is it possible that those speech therapists opposing the new therapy will be out of work? Again, the answer boils down to money IMHO.
Posted by: Maurine Meleck | September 19, 2022 at 09:02 AM