Today’s schedule was a demonstration of how our Deaf Education program draws on several elements to collectively increase the potential for listening and spoken language in children with hearing loss.

Spoken language development is a process that starts with listening. Children with hearing loss newly fit with hearing aids need the support of therapists, families, and teachers to help their brains make sense of sounds they are now hearing. With such support, they can then develop spoken language. In today’s Teacher Training program lecture, Kathryn Wilson presented the Auditory Learning Guide, a strategic tool that helps professionals and parents chart a child’s listening and spoken language development after they are fit with hearing technology. Use of the ALG helps ensure a child’s progress is occuring at a rate consistent with his or her cognitive potential.

During the afternoon breakout sessions, teachers watched auditory-verbal therapy videos and discussed different strategies to help a child wth hearing loss move through each of the developmental stages outlined in the ALG.

Meanwhile, across the way, our brand new Audiology program got started. There are no formally trained audiologists in Vietnam. So, we created this four week program to train staff members who do audiology work so they can best meet the audiological needs of children who are deaf or hard of hearing at their schools. Our program this summer involves about 20 school staff, hearing aid dispensers, and hospital personnel. We kicked things off today with a morning lecture and afternoon breakout sessions in which participants practiced using audiometers to test each other’s hearing.

Parents play an important role in the cultivation of their children’s language because they are the ones who spend the most time with them. We emphasized that in tonight’s Parent Program, focusing the first hour on specific strategies that parents could use in their everyday lives to foster listening and spoken language opportunities. During the second hour, the parents broke into small groups and practiced what they learned during the lecture in play activites with their own children. The parents were like sponges, soaking up all ideas and coaching support from our professionals about strategies and tactics.

The Global Foundation monitors the progress of the children and teachers that we serve. We keep a record of every child that receives a hearing aid from our Hearing Aid Distribution program so we can follow up with them at a later date. A team of academics helped us develop a battery of tests which we will begin executing this summer. The parents enrolled in our Parent Program turned in a survey tonight that provides insight to their children’s language and auditory skills at this point in time. We also asked for information about the hearing aids their children are wearing. We’re testng the teachers to measure their progress in understanding of the material and ability to incorporate strategies into their curriculi. All of these different test pieces will help us ensure that we are successful in achieving the collective goals of our program.