Post submitted by Lauren Clabaugh, ArSHA Schools Committee   Arizona School-based SLPs: Does this situation sound familiar? You are finally getting your footing this school year and feeling comfortable with…

Application deadline-February 1, 2020 ArSHA Outstanding Graduate Student Scholarship This $500 scholarship is available to a current active ArSHA student member who has displayed strong clinical potential, leadership skills, and…

Chelsea Privette, M.Ed., CCC-SLP, for ArSHA'S Cultural and Linguistic Diversity committee

 

Everyone has biases – both positive and negative. Implicit bias affects our clinical practice in ways that are subtle to us, but in not-so-subtle ways to the clients we serve. The good news is that we have the ability to identify our biases through self-reflection and self-awareness, and we can shift harmful biases by taking the position of cultural humility.

 

What is bias?

Bias. That’s a scary word for a lot of people because it comes with a lot of negative connotations. But, the truth is that we all have biases – both positive and negative. We will always have biases. They do not go away; but they can change. When we recognize the negative biases we have and how they can hurt people, we are able to shift those biases with intentional and focused effort. 

 

Merriam-Webster defines bias as “an inclination of temperament or outlook; prejudice; bent; tendency.” This is the more common use of the word. But bias also means “systematic error introduced into sampling or testing by selecting or encouraging one outcome or answer over others.” This particular definition goes beyond sampling or testing in a controlled environment. All of us are socialized to internalize certain biases about different people, places, and things, thus creating systematic error across systems – the justice system, employment, education, and health care included. Bias results in the policies and practices that differentially affect marginalized groups based on language, race, religion, sex, gender expression, sexual orientation, ability, age, and class. These discriminatory practices – intentional or not – produce health, educational, and economic disparities.

 

We hear the term implicit bias a lot without reference to explicit bias. But it is helpful to note the difference. Explicit bias can be stated. They are attitudes that we openly share with others, even if we do not share them with everyone. Implicit bias, on the other hand, are those attitudes that we do not consciously consider. Still, they contribute to our behavior. Payne and Cameron (2014) state that socially interesting behaviors are a combination of intentional (controlled) and unintentional (automatic) processes. In fact, implicit attitudes predict behavior in ways that explicit attitudes do not (Cone & Ferguson, 2014). This means that one can act in a way that is inconsistent with one’s explicit beliefs, in which case, one’s explicit beliefs are not consistent with one’s implicit beliefs. The most common example of this, particularly as it relates to race, is the statement, “I am not a racist.” No one wants to be called a racist. It is no longer widely accepted to identify as a racist. However, a person who makes that statement can be – and often is – the same person who is afraid to enter an elevator with a black man, who is repulsed by the sound of families speaking a language other than English in public, who tells their children not to bring home a significant other who does not belong to the same race as them. 

 

Before we can attempt to change our biases (or attitudes), we must understand what they are and how they function. An attitude is an evaluative perception (positive or negative) of an object (person, concept, or thing; Oskamp & Schultz, 2005). Each of your attitudes vary in degree of favorability. The psychology literature calls this the valence – or intensity – of an attitude (see figure 1). Each of your attitudes also has three components of complexity: cognitive (information), affective (familiarity and associations), and behavioral (actions and intentions).

Due to social pressures, encounters with new information, and the power of personal experience, explicit attitudes are relatively easy to change. Implicit attitudes, however, are highly resistant to change – especially when that attitude is negative. Negative attitudes are considered to be highly diagnostic (Cone & Ferguson, 2014). This means that we take negative impressions more seriously than positive ones. Think of the old saying, “First impressions are lasting impressions.” Most of us encounter new people every day, even if we do not meet them personally. But the people you remember most are those who gave you a bad impression.

ArSHA needs your help with an urgent advocacy effort! AHCCCS has proposed new policy expanding reimbursement for ABA services. ArSHA is not opposed to the work of Behavior Analysts and…

One of my favorite niches in which to practice speech pathology in the schools has been with literacy. I love to dig deep into the relationships between reading comprehension and…

  It’s ArSHA’s time to celebrate! It’s YOUR time to nominate! FACT:  The Arizona Speech-Language-Hearing Association has presented MANY awards over the years to recognize deserving individuals and their contributions…

Leadership in a state level professional organization is a way of giving back to the community. This is how I view my role as Vice President for Speech Pathology for…

The other morning I was browsing some social media over my cup of coffee. I have a couple of SLP feeds that I interact with and a question posed this…

ArSHA is the most important advocate for the professions and people with communication disorders in Arizona. While ASHA is skilled at addressing national issues, ArSHA has the resources and relationships…

SLPs and audiologists are frequently asked to supervise interns, CFs, or SLPAs. This seems especially frequent in the schools. In my 22 years I have had many experiences with supervision…