This morning, Lauri Nelson presented on audiology fundamentals including aspects such as hearing test protcols, audiograms, hearing aids, how the brain interprets sounds, and listening environments. The questions that the participants had demonstrated a solid basic understanding of audiology — they wanted to know more about things like gain and output, interpreting audiograms to fit hearing aids well, and why fitting a child with hearing aids doesn’t immediately transfer to spoken language.

This afternoon, the participants split into three groups for practicum rotation. One session was tied to the morning lecture focused on understanding and interpreting audiograms. Another breakout, called Teacher Integration of Skills is a series about how to implement the aspects from the morning lecture into the teachers’ home schools. In this particular session, Maura Berndsen and Janet Fuller– with the help of Charlie Shafer — demonstrated how to check that children’s hearing aids are working properly and how to use Ling sounds to test hearing. The final breakout series is called Coaching Parents. In today’s session, the focus was on the grieving process that parents go through when they learn that their child has a hearing loss.

We also have video consultations. This is the first time we’ve tried this…and its going to be a big hit. Nine teachers sent us video of themselves in therapy and classroom sessions in advance. They also completed some self-evaluation forms to explain what they are doing in the video. Judy Odendahl and Kathryn Wilson reviewed the vidoes with Thao Dinh, one of our interpreters….and then are meeting with each of the teachers to provide mentorship and coaching in one-on-one sessions. Its awesome to see that this format is working well because it could be a precursor to ongoing feedback during the school year when we are not in country. One of the teachers said the ideas and suggestions that she was getting from Kathryn and Judy was really helpful to her in thinking about specific ways how to expand on her lesson plans.

In a feel-good moment of the day…I sat in on a video consultation with a teacher from Danang. The teacher explained that the boy in the video received his first pair of hearing aids from our team during our January Mobile Mission. This pair of Oticon hearing aids was his first ever. Though he was 4 years old, he had a moderate hearing loss. The teacher said he was making great progress. It was really cool to think that we gave this boy a pair of hearing aids and now his teacher was here — in Level 2 to boot — talking with two outstanding professionals about how to help this boy continue to develop his spoken language skills. Awesome.