Published on June 23rd, 20140
The International Communication Project 2014 – Part II
A Time for Action
To say that this year has been an important year for Speech-Language and Audiology Canada (SAC) is an understatement. In addition to introducing our new brand, beginning our public advertising campaign, transitioning Communiqué to a blog and hosting our 50th anniversary conference, we also helped to launch the International Communication Project (ICP) 2014. For the first time, speech and hearing associations from around the world joined together to raise awareness about communication disorders. SAC could not be more proud to be one of the six founding organizations behind this project; we truly believe that it is history in the making.
We, along with our counterparts in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, began discussing a collaborative effort to emphasize the importance of recognizing communication as a basic human right back in 2011 (you can read about how the project began in this article by the Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists). In February of this year, we finally saw the project come together with our first event: a live, worldwide Google Hangout, featuring representatives from each organization. SAC issued a press release to help the public and the media understand the project and what it hopes to accomplish.
Following the official launch, several other organizations from around the world expressed their interest in joining ICP 2014. They’ve helped to support this project by encouraging people to sign the Universal Declaration of Communication Rights and sharing information about ICP 2014 on their websites, through social media and in their newsletters. We’ve also collected several stories from individuals about their own experiences with communication disorders. We’re thrilled to see our members and associates involved with such an important initiative.
In an effort to build on this momentum, the ICP 2014 founders deemed May a “Month of Action”, a time when each organization would organize events within their country to raise awareness about communication disorders and the professionals who can help. The month’s events have included outreach to Houses of Parliament in England, tours across New Zealand and Australia, workplace exhibits in Ireland and another Google Hangout in the United States that focused on the importance early identification and intervention in treating communication disorders.
SAC hosted several events for the project’s Month of Action, starting with an advocacy day on Parliament Hill on May 7. The event brought together members, politicians and key decision-makers in an effort to raise the profile of the professions and communication health in general. 39 delegates — a mix of SAC staff and Board Directors and leaders of the provincial speech and hearing associations — met with Members of Parliament, Senators and their staff to tell them about ICP and ask them to sign the pledge. We also used this opportunity to promote Speech and Hearing Month.
Later that same day, we kicked off our 50th anniversary conference. Communication health professionals from across the country gathered in our nation’s capital to connect with leaders in speech-language pathology and audiology. We gave each delegate an ICP 2014 bookmark and asked attendees to sign the declaration at our tradeshow booth.
Finally, we provided ICP 2014 bookmarks to delegates at VOICE’s 50th anniversary conference and the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association’s national conference, both of which took place in Toronto in the past month. Riana Topan, our Communications Assistant and staff representative on one of ICP’s two committees, attended the CHHA conference to promote the project, encourage more pledge signatures and collect personal stories from individuals with hearing loss to share on the ICP website.
May was an eventful month for us, to say the least. We’re confident that the public, media and politicians are starting to understand the important role that communication plays in daily life; that it is fundamental to our very existence as social, interactive creatures. From our powerful new ads to our involvement with ICP 2014 and the fantastic Speech and Hearing Month resources we’ve made available to members, associates and the public, we’re taking every opportunity we have to demonstrate the importance of human communication and promote the work of communication health professionals.
The Month of Action may be over, but we still encourage people to join us this global movement throughout the rest of the year. We are counting on our members and associates to spread the word about the project, to host events of their own and to show their support by signing the Universal Declaration of Communication Rights. We’re excited for the project to grow in the coming months (and years!) and to see what we can accomplish when we work together.
SAC Communications Assistant