“You need to hug him too!” Brad McPherson’s time with us ended today along with Maura Berndsen. The Vietnamese had a little ceremony to acknowledge their efforts and to also welcome Ann Baumann and Kim Hamren who had just arrived a few hours earlier. Maura got a big hug along with her presents and when it came to recognize Brad, the teachers giggled that Brad should get a hug too. It is not in the Vietnamese culture for women to hug men that aren’t family. So, when one of teachers did the deed, everyone in the room had a big belly laugh over that.

Maura wrapped up a successful first week of our program with a lecture and practicum about lesson planning and ongoing assessment. She used the analogy of a map to explain how lesson plans can help therapists, families, and teachers devise strategies to move towards target goals for the children they work with. If you know where you want to go, the map can help you get there. Maura also explained there are core areas of language and cognitive development that need to be monitored. With careful assessment and planning, the team (parents, teachers, therapists, etc) can identify and address the child’s weakness areas and help that child progress in their listening and spoken language acumen over time.

Meanwhile, the Audiology program participants learned about VRA and play audiometry -two methods for testing hearing of young children. They had a great time during the interactive afternoon, testing each other’s hearing, learning how to use otoscopes, and practicing VRA with fun plastic globes the team sourced from Walmart before coming here. Who knew that Walmart would be the place for perfect audiometry toys?

Next week is a smorgsborg of activity…we have been invited to present our work at the US Consulate on Thursday. The audiology team will visit two hospitals in HCMC to see their work in pediatric audiology and we’ll discuss future opportunties for training in the hospitals.

The Level 2 group of 55 teachers conclude their training on Wednesday and we start up with the Level 1 group. Level 1 features about 40 teachers of the deaf and therapists. They are either new to our program or didn’t pass last year’s final test and are back to repeat the course. Over the 2.5 weeks program, they will learn fundamentals in audiology, speech pathology, early intervention, and auditory verbal education.

We have our second webinar on Wednesday and at least nine American and Vietnamese families will participate. The Audiology course and Parent Program will continue their curriculi in the week ahead. It promises to be a memorable week, for sure.