This summer, we have Audiology, AV Therapy, Early Intervention, and AV Kindergarten Classroom training programs running concurrently under the same roof. The reason why we do all these programs together is to demonstrate to the Vietnamese how these areas work together in integrated fashion. Our goal is to build a network of support across key functions to help young children with hearing loss make use of hearing technology and learn to listen and speak.
One of the audiology technicians commented this week that our program has been the genesis for cross-functional networking and collaboration. After five years of interaction with each other through the Global Foundation’s training efforts, the result has been a stronger network of support for young children with hearing loss and families in Vietnam.
Global Foundation audiology professional Julie Verhoff helped the Vietnamese audiology technicians further their skills this summer while also creating opportunities for the participants to guide each other. For example, five of the most advanced Vietnamese technicians in the program led teams of less experienced technicians each day through the entire test battery, hearing aid process, and counseled parents. By the end of the program, the Vietnamese technicians collectively were running the audiology clinic with minimal oversight from Julie. It was a powerful confidence booster for the Vietnamese.
We also added some new tools to their assessment and case management which we will continue to use ongoing. Time was spent training on new Audioscan machines to verify pediatric hearing aid fittings,. In low and middle income countries, its often prohibitive to achieve this standard of care due to the cost of the equipment and the training required. So we are pleased to have been able to provide our Vietnamese participants with the equipment and training to do such verification.
Phonak hearing aids donated by Hear the World Foundation were provided to children in need as part of our audiology clinic. The list of recipients included a 17 month old who will receive ongoing therapy and audiology support to develop her listening and spoken language skills by teachers and technicians in our program.
Some of the Vietnamese audiology technicians announced they are starting an Association to provide volunteer audiology services to schools and early intervention centers throughout the South provinces. The members will comprise those we have trained through our program.
Meanwhile, the teachers and therapists enrolled in the education programs come from schools all over South Vietnam. Global Foundation professionals Pam Yoshihara, Tricia Eckels, Landon Lacey, Emily Lund, Michael Douglas, Sherri Fickenscher, and Margaret Knott are leading the Classroom, AV Therapy, and Early Intervention training efforts.
Children under 6 years of age and their parents are taking part in the practicum for all courses. Among other things, the therapists are learning about language sampling as a useful tool to help assess where a child with hearing loss is in their development. Vietnam has no official assessments and so our team has been providing a host of informal tools such as this over the years to help them in their work. Great stuff!