We are pleased to welcome Marie Patton and Dawn Dickerson as our guest hosts tonight,
February 24, 2003. They will be leading us in a chat about everything you wanted to
know about the NSSLHA organization. Marie Patton is the national NSSLHA President,
an ASHA Legislative Councilor, and NSSLHA Regional Councilor for chapters in Alabama,
Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia. She is a senior studying
Communication Disorders at the University of Kentucky and would like to pursue a
doctorate in speech-language pathology. Dawn Dickerson serves as the Director of
Operations at NSSLHA offices in Rockville, Maryland.
NSSLHA, the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association, is the only
organization recognized by ASHA for students interested in the study of human
communications and its disorders. It was organized in 1973 by Clyde Willis and
Kenneth O. Johnson is run by 10 students elected to serve on the NSSLHA Executive
Council. Along with the 10 students, there are five professionals, all ASHA members,
who also serve on the council. NSSLHA has local chapters at over 300 universities
throughout the world. It offers students numerous benefits.
<Robin> We are pleased to welcome Marie Patton and Dawn Dickerson as our guest hosts
<Robin> Marie and Dawn, could you give us an overview of the NSSLHA organization?
<Marie> Well, NSSLHA was founded in 1972 and has about 11,000 student members and over
294 chapters nationally and internationally.
<Barbara> I know there is a chapter at CSUN, CA STATE Northridge.
<Dawn_Dickerson> We have an active chapter in Greece.
<Dawn_Dickerson> For the cost of annual membership ($45) a student receives the
<Dawn_Dickerson> The annual Contemporary Issues in Communication Science and Disorders
(CICSD), a NSSLHA publication.
<Dawn_Dickerson> Three issues of NSSLHA's newsletter, News & Notes.
<Dawn_Dickerson> A subscription to the ASHA Leader.
<Dawn_Dickerson> A subscription to one ASHA journal.
<Marie> Access to the NNSSLHA and ASHA websites, including the on-line full text
journals...which is great for papers!
<Dawn_Dickerson> Reduced fees for ASHA special interest division and reduced registration
to the ASHA convention.
<Dawn_Dickerson> Professional Liability insurance.
<Dawn_Dickerson> And the NSSLHA-to-ASHA Conversion Program discount.
<JenMU> I have one question...Many of the members at Marshall have been asking me about
the NSSLHA to ASHA conversion program. Do you know how much $$ you save if you
have been a National NSSLHA member for 2 consecutive years when you convert?
<Marie> Jen- you save $150!
<JenMU> Wow thats really great!
<Robin> A student wrote to us and wanted to know how often the dues are paid...ie, once
<Marie> NSSLHA Dues are renewed annually...usually in January, but students can join at
anytime...now Dawn will continue with the benefits of NSSLHA membership.
<Robin> In regard to professional liability insurance, isn't there a separate fee for
<Dawn_Dickerson> Yes, the liability insurance is provided through Marsh /Affinity
<Dawn_Dickerson> Students will have to contact Marsh directly to learn the costs of the
insurance and other benefits available to NSSLHA members.
<Barbara> I think it is unusual for students to need to get professional liability
insurance. It is usually covered by the school and would only be needed if they
<Dawn_Dickerson> Barbara...not all programs provide insurance...many ask the students to
join NSSLHA so that they may obtain coverage.
<Marie> Barbara, some of my classmates who are in the masters program (I am a senior)
use the insurance.
<AdrienneFSU> FSU requires you to have insurance for off campus sites (which you have
<Marie> Some intangible benefits of NSSLHA are being a part of a professional
<Barbara> As a former employer of SLPs I would suggest that belonging to NSSLHA is a
positive in an interview.
<Robin> Good point Barbara.
<Dawn_Dickerson> Thanks for sharing that Barbara....many professors tell us that they
look for NSSLHA membership even on grad school applications.
<Barbara> In today's competitive world, I am not surprised.
<Robin> Tell us about how NSSLHA is involved in the annual ASHA convention
<Dawn_Dickerson> As a member of NSSLHA a student receives a significant discount to
attend the ASHA convention.
<Marie> At the ASHA Convention, it is great to be able to meet new students and learn
from them and their experiences...it's great to meet students who are as
enthusiastic about the profession as I am.
<Dawn_Dickerson> And this year, NSSLHA is hosting a day of programming specifically for
<Robin> There were a lot of activities for students at the most recent convention.
<Marie> We are hoping to have a NSSLHA Student Rally again when we have the convention in
<Dawn_Dickerson> NSSLHA is really planning some hands-on technical sessions at the ASHA
convention in Chicago.
<Dawn_Dickerson> And...as Marie mentioned...we're working on a luncheon for students...
which means FREE FOOD!
<Robin> Food is always good! How does a school/SLP program go about starting a NSSLHA
chapter if they don't have one?
<Dawn_Dickerson> It's really simple
<Dawn_Dickerson> They can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for an application and
<Robin> What are some of the guidelines or criteria?
<Dawn_Dickerson> They simply have to have a chapter advisor that is a current member of
<Dawn_Dickerson> And officers, two of which are members of national NSSLHA.
<Dawn_Dickerson> Then they must submit by-laws and a list of prospective members...
<Dawn_Dickerson> There is no fee for a chapter to join NSSLHA.
<Robin> What percentage of SLP university programs have NSSLHA chapters?
<Dawn_Dickerson> There are NSSLHA chapters in every CAA-accredidated program.
<Dawn_Dickerson> And we have undergraduate chapters at those schools...
<Robin> What if the program is not accredited?
<Dawn_Dickerson> but I don't have the exact number of those schools....maybe 25.
<Dawn_Dickerson> Does anyone have questions about the NSSLHA-to-ASHA Conversion Program?
<Robin> Please explain the details to us, Dawn.
<Dawn_Dickerson> This membership benefit allows a student with two consecutive years of
membership in NSSLHA to join ASHA at a reduced price.
<Marie> And, unless the rules have changed, the two consecutive years must be during
<Dawn_Dickerson> So anyone graduating from a masters program in 2003, should be a member
of NSSLHA in 2002 and 2003 to be eligible for the benefit.
<JenMU> Well, mine is more about getting members to join national NSSLHA-- I am the
president of MU's NSSLHA and I have a hard time trying to get people (especially
grad. students) to join National NSSLHA. They all know the benefits but its like
they don't care...
<Dawn_Dickerson> That's unfortunate.
<Dawn_Dickerson> But common.
<Marie> Yes, that is a problem at several chapters.
<JenMU> or aren't concerned...thats why I asked early about the $$ saved--Im hoping to
use that as a incentive. Does anyone have advice?
<AdrienneFSU> I have to admit, I pay NSSLHA dues and reap journal benefits, etc- but I
don't have a lot of time to attend meetings and events.
<AdrienneFSU> Does your chapter require attendance?
<Dawn_Dickerson> I think that's the first step...reexamining how students participate in
<Marie> I suggest stressing the amount of money that is saved (students are very
concerned about money), and stress all of the educational material, such as the
journals, ASHA Leader, and NSSLHA News and Notes.
<Dawn_Dickerson> I think that's its unreasonable to expect students to be able to attend
<JenMU> Well, we do a point system. You just have to attend a few...I know in grad
school its really hard to find the time. I think grad students would benefit
more from National NSSLHA than chapter NSSLHA.
<Marie> Some programs require all students to be National NSSLHA members...it's not
even an option to not join.
<Barbara> Clearly, when one graduates and is looking for employment, membership in ASHA
is imperative. Even though most states have licensure, employers look for ASHA
<Dawn_Dickerson> So my recommendation would be to use email updates to keep students
informed about what's going on...
<Marie> E-mail lists are a great way to keep students informed.
<Marie> So are monthly newsletters.
<JenMU> We have an email list through yahoo and that has worked fairly well.
<Dawn_Dickerson> Also, NSSLHA is offering a complimentary subscription to News & Notes
to students that are not members of national NSSLHA.
<Dawn_Dickerson> Once a student reads our newsletters and sees all the benefits that
they are missing they get inspired to join.
<Robin> So you can be a member of your local NSSLHA but not national NSSLHA?
<AdrienneFSU> and vice versa?
<Marie> Yes, that's correct on both parts.
<Dawn_Dickerson> Yes, which is a great source of confusion.
<Robin> Why isn't it one and the same?
<Dawn_Dickerson> But you don't get the benefits that we mentioned unless you join on
the national level.
<Robin> I think it is confusing.
<Dawn_Dickerson> Well because the council didn't want to require students to join.
<Dawn_Dickerson> Join the national.
<Dawn_Dickerson> Students can affiliate with their local chapter free of charge.
<Dawn_Dickerson> The idea was that as long as they have a means of affiliating...maybe
they will join.
<Robin> I see now!
<JenMU> I think its a good idea...in some ways. I think when you are in your first
year or so of studying CD the journals are a little overwhelming.
<Dawn_Dickerson> Yes, we hear that a lot about the journals.
<Marie> Jen, I agree that the journals can be "over my head".
<JenMU> I see even some basic stuff we discuss in the chapter meetings going over
some of the newer girls in our major's heads.
<Dawn_Dickerson> We are exploring ways to offer an undergraduate membership without the
<Robin> I am thinking of fees and students are on a tight budget..that might help.
<JenMU> Oh I love the journals...especially when you have papers to write!
<Marie> However, I find the CICSD journal to be quite useful (and other students have
told me so, too).
<Marie> The best part about the journals are that you can access them on-line, full text
if you are a national NSSLHA member.
<JenMU> I agree!
<Dawn_Dickerson> Yeah...and that's the stuff that the national members should be sharing
with their classmates and encouraging them to join....
<Marie> So, at your chapter meetings, you might want to have a quick on-line presentation
of how to access the journals on-line.
<AdrienneFSU> Good idea!
<JenMU> That is a good idea!
<Dawn_Dickerson> Membership applications are available on our website as well at
<Marie> And you can join by calling the ASHA Action Center at (800) 638-8255.
<Marie> Or you can call and renew through the Action Center, too.
<Robin> A student who couldn't be here tonight submitted the following question,
"Do I have to have my Cs before I can join ASHA?"
<Dawn_Dickerson> You can join ASHA without having your CCC's or vice versa.
<Dawn_Dickerson> You do not have to have your CCC's to be a member of ASHA?
<Robin> I didnt know that!
<Dawn_Dickerson> You do not have to be a member of ASHA to get your CCC's.
<Dawn_Dickerson> Yes, Robin...far too many people don't know that....
<Marie> Yes, many speech-language-hearing scientists are members of ASHA, but do not
have their CCC because they do not work with clients directly.
<Robin> Marie, do you have any suggestions for local chapter activities that have been
<Marie> Volunteer activities that are related to the field are very well recieved...
<Marie> Such as working with the Special Olympics, a children's hospital, or retirement
<JenMU> I agree! we just had a successful one for Valentines Day.
<Robin> What did you do JenMU?
<JenMU> We went to Health South Rehab and played Name that Tune BINGO. We had all kinds
of love songs on a CD and then written on the bingo cards and they had to name
that tune and then mark off the song.
<Marie> That's so nice!
<JenMU> We had songs they all remembered..like Frank Sinatra.
<JenMU> They were skeptical at first but were singing by then end! It was so fun!
<Marie> When doing community service activities, it's always a good idea to remind
students to attend because they can, first, learn from it and help others, and
second, add the activity to their resume.
<Marie> One really popular fundraising activity is having a bake sale on-campus.
<JenMU> Yeah and a lot of the girls are wary of the elderly and it got them exposed to
<Dawn_Dickerson> Which is another one of those intangible benefits of joining NSSLHA.
<Marie> Another good fundraiser are candles, cook books, or candy bars.
<Rhonda> I love that!
<AdrienneFSU> Our chapter has had t-shirts, this year we have bags with FSU NSSLHA
embroidered on them for $15.
<JenMU> We did that too and it went over pretty well.
<Robin> Perhaps National NSSLHA can help coordinate some of these ideas?
<Dawn_Dickerson> Robin...what do you mean??
<Dawn_Dickerson> Develop a format on how to get these kinds of activites done?
<Robin> Well....provide some of these items to be personalized (at a low cost)....
<Dawn_Dickerson> OOHHH... I didn't understand...
<Robin> just thinking out loud!
<Dawn_Dickerson> Hmmm...that's a thought.
<Marie> I agree...maybe we should discuss that at our spring meeting, Dawn.
<Robin> They could already have the NSSLHA logo with a spot to add local chapter
<Dawn_Dickerson> I'll add it to the agenda.
<Marie> Great idea Robin.
<JenMU> Yeah! That would be really nice.
<AdrienneFSU> Here's an idea- hold a contest for chapter spirit or something- chapters
can send in ways they display their pride and someone can write an article in News
and Notes with the top 3 unique ways to spread the word.
<Dawn_Dickerson> That is a good idea...
<Robin> These fundraising and community service ideas should be shared...make a contest.
<Marie> Yes, that would be good for News and Notes.
<Dawn_Dickerson> I'll make note of this to work on it over the summer for the fall...
<Robin> Great! Are there any more questions for our hosts?
<Robin> Thank you Marie and Dawn, for being here tonight!
<Dawn_Dickerson> If you would like more information about NSSLHA, please contact me at
<Marie> It's been a pleasure to speak in this chatroom....
<Dawn_Dickerson> Thank you guys for participating and allowing us to be here.
<JenMU> Thanks for your time! I have some good ideas to take back!
<Carol> This was fun, thanks for all of the good info!
<Marie> Yes, everyone has had great questions and ideas.
<Rhonda> I enjoyed the chat tonight, thanks a lot!
<Robin> Thank you all for being here!!!!!
<Julie> good night, thanks!
<AdrienneFSU> Good night everyone!
<Marie> Good night!