The world today faces many redefinitions. These redefinitions include issues such as right of life, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Redefinitions present themselves in a variety of situations like marriage, school systems, and multiple professional careers. People assume these issues will not affect their lives. The reality is redefinitions shape much of culture around them. Redefinitions affect mindset, behavior, religion, and identity. Redefinitions are the biggest factors affecting the Christian’s life today in America. Christians must learn how to appropriately respond to LGBT individuals personally and professionally.
Redefinitions influence career paths and how professionals react to these communities. Speech-language pathology is no exception. ASHA, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, is the national organization for Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs). ASHA began redefining terms many years ago to include all LGBT communities.
A specific population affecting the field of speech-language pathology is the transgender community. These individuals often approach SLPs with the desire of changing their voice. Speech-language pathology contains the goal of creating the best voice for communication possible. For the transgender community, this best voice makes communication sound as feminine or masculine as possible. Their best voice bases itself in preference towards a specific gender. Therefore, ASHA states the job of the SLP is to provide speech therapy to aid this community in achieving their best voice possible.
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Best practice describes the standardized procedure for creating a therapy protocol for specific types of patients. ASHA specifically designates the process of best practice for transgender clients. This process begins with safe zones, areas the SLP provides for these clients. Safe zones create environments for transgender clients to speak openly about their feelings and struggles without receiving judgment for their lifestyle. Following safe zones, SLPs move toward understanding the client’s specific goals and finding a therapy approach that matches those goals.
Another foundational aspect of treating transgender individuals involves cultural and linguistic competence. Cultural and linguistic competence is providing service that is respectful of, and responsive to, an individual’s values, preferences, and language. Care should not vary in quality based on ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status, or other factors (ASHA, 2017).
Best practice and cultural and linguistic competence create obstacles for Christians who choose the career of speech-language pathology. An SLP will likely experience situations involving the transgender community. Christians in this field must understand all the factors involved within this community to react effectively with grace and love.
ASHA recommends approaching transgender clients with an open approach unaffected by any preferences. ASHA believes in providing a space where this community feels comfortable to explore new voice techniques in correlation with their desired gender. They believe the SLP helps facilitate this ease of transition for the client.
SLPs must understand the process of gender modification. At the point of these individuals coming for speech therapy,
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