The Global Foundation team completed its third Mobile Mission at the end of January 2013. It was another successful endeavor. Here are the highlights….

We spent a week at Children’s Hospital 1 in Ho Chi Minh City. This was our second Mobile Mission at CH1 and third training there. Eighteen doctors and technicians including four from Hanoi attended the audiology training led by Global Foundation audiologists Jane Madell and Elizabeth Preston. The training focused on behavioral and diagnostic testing in lectures, practicum, and live sessions with families. Hannah Eskridge and Lillian Henderson led the auditory-verbal training with 12 therapists, most of all of whom have participated  in our Summer  Training and/or past Mobile Missions.  The mornings were spent in hands-on practice and coaching in therapy sessions with families while the afternoon was devoted to planning and discussion.  All was well received and the hospital has requested that we return soon.

During the Mobile Mission, we also spent a week at Thuan An Center, an early intervention and educational program in Binh Duong.  Global Foundation auditory-verbal education professional Ann Baumann observed the Vietnamese teachers in the kindergarten classrooms and provided them with coaching feedback on strategies and activities used.  Ann and the Vietnamese teachers reviewed concepts taught during the Summer Program and worked together to build on the expertise of the teachers in areas of assessment and lesson planning.  It is remarkable to see the progress that these teachers have made since we first started working with them in 2010.  Back then, they did not evaluate children for their language and auditory skills, set goals, or engage in any structured lesson planning. Now they are doing all of that and more. The children are making noticeable strides in their auditory and spoken language development as a result.

While at Thuan An Center, Jane and Elizabeth coached 18 audio-technicians through the process of pediatric hearing testing, fitting of hearing aids, and counseling parents.  New hearing aids were provided to 7 children. Over 50 children were brought in during the course of the week for testing and the majority of these children are children that we have been tracking over time. By developing case history and working with the Vietnamese to measure their progress, we are ensuring these children are hearing optimally and have every opportunity to learn to listen and talk. The audiology participants also checked the personal FM systems used at Thuan An Center and learned how to troubleshoot and address problems.

The Global Foundation Mobile Mission team was invited by the Hanoi University of Education to conduct a 2-day workshop in Hanoi as a potential first step towards national expansion of our work.  Thirty-one Vietnamese professionals and 11 Vietnamese parents attended the day program.  Jane, Elizabeth, and Hannah combined lecture with breakouts and practicum to introduce concepts in listening and spoken language development and audiology.   We conducted a parent night during which about 40 parents came to ask questions and learn about how to help their children with hearing loss at home.  The participants of the 2-day workshop gave glowing reviews about our work and expressed a strong interest to have us return for more training on a larger scale. 

We launched a Video Analysis Program last Fall to provide ongoing support to Vietnamese teachers and therapists enrolled in our Deaf Education Program during the year. The Vietnamese submit videos of themselves working in classrooms or therapy sessions. The videos are transcribed into English by Vietnamese university student volunteers. The Global Foundation professionals review the videos and provide feedback that is then translated to Vietnamese and shared with the Vietnamese professionals, The introduction of this program was very popular with the Vietnamese. They set up study groups to analyze their videos and our team’s feedback together to get the most out of the experience. We will conduct our next round of video analyses in March 2013. We identified therapists and teachers from CH1 and Thuan An Center that are demonstrating potential and invited them to participate in this program.

We are now laying plans for our fourth Summer Training Program, scheduled for July 2013 at Thuan An Center.  Vietnamese teachers and therapists will take part in the Level 3 and 4 early intervention and classroom tracks and we will also conduct audiology training. The more advanced participants will be asked to lead some of the training of their peers.  We plan to instruct teachers from mainstream schools about audiology and how to address the needs of children with hearing loss in their mainstream classrooms.  We will also provide counsel to school administrators and other professionals looking to set up audiology programs in their communities. We will again have a parent program for parents of children with hearing loss. The Global Foundation’s team comprised of audiologists, deaf educators, auditory-verbal specialists, and speech pathologists is in place. It is inspiring to be a part of an effort that is empowering many who are asking for and are open to new ideas and advancement in their approaches to their work.