Our last week on this January 2014 Mobile Mission has taken us to Thuan An Center, an early intervention and school program outside of Ho Chi Minh City. After weeks in the hustle of the major cities, it has been nice to have a bit slower pace out in the countryside.
Sally Tannebaum is leading the auditory-verbal training this week, providing lecture and hands-on instruction to the therapists in our advanced group who work in school settings around the South. Each morning, young children come in for listening and spoken language sessions with the Vietnamese participants who then receive coaching support from Sally. The afternoons are devoted to feedback and lesson planning. Many of the children and families taking part also engaged in our past Mobile Missions and Summer Training programs. So it has been wonderful to see their progress and the growing confidence of the parents to execute strategies to help their children.
One of our organizational goals is to leverage the relationships we have with the 38 schools in our Vietnam Deaf Education Program. to establish regional audiology centers. These regional centers would be housed in a select group of schools in our program and would be a resource for families who live far away from Ho Chi Minh City. The centers will also enable teachers and therapists at the schools to more quickly respond to the children’s audiological needs. Currently, families have to take time off work – often unpaid – and travel great distances to the city to get care.
As part of this vision, we are training the audiology technicians who would support these regional centers. Unitron donated audiology equipment to support the regional audiology center concept and also several hearing aids that the Vietnamese technicians have fit on young children in need during the audiology training this week.
Joan is also working with Vietnamese technicians who support children in the region with cochlear implants to be sure the children are hearing as optimally as possible.