The Global Issues accelerate session featured three mini-presentations around the theme of global issues in auditory verbal practice.
STRATEGIES FOR MENTORING: INSIGHTS FROM VIETNAM
This segment, presented by volunteers from the Global Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss, shared participants’ experiences helping to build capacity in Vietnam by training local teachers of the deaf in listening and spoken language strategies. Yoshihara discussed differences she observed between classrooms in Vietnam and in the United States. For example, children’s books are not widely available in Vietnam and teachers often make their own books and materials for children. When mentoring Vietnamese teachers, the GFCHL team had to be aware of cultural differences in routines like meal time. In classrooms in the US, meal/snack time is often though of as a prime language opportunity, whereas in Vietnam, it is more normal to eat quickly with a minimum of talking. Noll stated the reflective practice is key to being both a mentor and mentee, and that the ability to reflect on one’s performance, while not natural to the Vietnamese teachers she coached, is a skill that can be learned and grown.
MENTORING ACROSS THE MILES
Jayne Simpson Allen mentored Jane Lignel Josvassen, the first Cert. AVT in Denmark, as well as two of her colleagues. Those three professionals are the only LSLS certified clinicians in their country. Allen and Josvassen used videoconference technology as well as in-person visits over the course of their mentoring period, and noted that distance mentees may want/need to meet more frequently than the minimum required by the Academy to build a relationship with their mentor and seek further guidance, as distance mentees often live in areas with few or no AV resources. While Josvassen and her colleagues deliver therapy in Danish, she noted that it was helpful for her to have an English-speaking mentor and to conduct mentoring session in English because that helped her learn the vocabulary and grammar terms used on the LSLS certification exam, which is delivered only in English. Both agreed that distance mentoring is a solution that works well to help increase the number of qualified listening and spoken language professionals to serve children worldwide.
PARENTS’ VIEW ON AUDITORY-VERBAL THERAPY IN DENMARK
Prior to 2013, speech, language, and educational attainment outcomes for children receiving cochlear implants in Denmark were quite poor. Families basically entered what Josvassen called the “postal code lottery,” receiving different types and quality of service depending upon where they lived. Noticing this trend, the government conducted a study and determined that lack of auditory verbal follow-up post-CI was a key cause, and made it national policy to offer one year of auditory verbal therapy to all pediatric CI recipients, recognizing AVT as the best practice standard of care for children with hearing loss. [This makes A LOT of sense. If the government is paying for CIs under a national health scheme, it is in their best interest to get the biggest bang for their buck, e.g. the best outcomes for these patients. AV is clearly supported by research to produce the best average outcomes for children who receive CIs. It was refreshing to hear of a government making policies based on solid scientific research like this. Other countries should take note and follow suit — both in providing full coverage for cochlear implants and in recognizing AVT as the standard of care in these cases. Hospitals offer a best treatment/standard of care for heart disease, broken bones, and diabetes. Deafness should be no different.]
Following the implementation of this policy, parents were surveyed about their perceptions of AV and its effect on their families. The majority of parents surveyed reported that participating in AV was not unduly stressful, noting that parents of all children, hearing and deaf, experience some normal stress about their children’s development.
All recaps are from my notes, memory, and/or presentation materials made available by the presenters. Any errors or omissions are my own.