7 UNELECTED people are in charge of AAC Specialty Certification for the entire profession

  • They are granted exclusive rights to the certification area, with no appeal or recourse
  • According to ASHA, “the specialty boards are all legally autonomous entities, with no direct connection to ASHA”
  • The Committee on Clinical Specialty Certification (CCSC) communicates with petitioning groups privately and will not publicize their membership
  • To date, the board of the AAC certification effort has not disclosed the most basic and fundamental information about who are among its members and what they have been doing. 
    • A request for information via the SIG 12 Listserv (Special Interest Group for AAC through ASHA) was only briefly responded to before stating that no further responses would be provided. On October 1st, 2019 a message was posted to the SIG 12 listserv that “We will try to have the information centralized for you as soon as we can, but request the courtesy of patience while we evaluate and set up the platform that will work the best.”
  • The AAC Specialty Board Members were listed as: Meher Banajee, Kathy Beatty (volunteer coordinator), Mike Cole, Ovetta Harris, Katya Hill, Christine Hurtubise, and Michael O’Leary.  These are the only people to be identified with this effort.
    • Two of the board members work for the same organization: The AAC Institute
    • No criteria were provided to determine how board members were selected
    • No criteria were provided as to the board members’ qualifications to determine either the systemic need for or the contours of AAC specialty certification  

A survey has been cited as supporting specialty certification, but the specific results of the survey and the survey instrument itself have not been published

  • To date, no information has been released to allow the conclusion that a fair or honest survey was conducted, which raises additional questions about the credibility of the claimed support for certification. 

The most basic question about the entire effort remains unanswered and unexplained: 

  • What is the specific need that AAC specialty certification are intended to address; stated another way, what is the question for which specialty certification is the answer
  • Is there a real, systemic problem with SLP assessment, recommendation, reporting, or service delivery related to AAC or SGDs?  If yes, how was this problem identified, how was it determined to be systemic, as compared to just a difference of clinical opinion, or an anecdotal mistake?  Stated another way, how was the credibility of that “systemic problem” assertion tested?  To date, we have been told of a few anecdotes, but anecdotes are not a basis for the development of SLP public policy.  
  • We are supposed to be an evidence-based profession.  What is the evidence-basis that a systemic problem exists?  And what is the nexus between the alleged systemic problem and certification? 

That the board for this effort is filled with volunteers is not a justification or an excuse for the lack of transparency associated with this effort.  Because so little information has been disclosed, questions abound.  And because the questions are pretty basic and should have been addressed a long time ago, quick and complete responses are expected.  But there have not been quick, complete or forthright responses.  Which leads to suspicion that all is not as it appears.