Friday, July 17, 2015

Week One Done...Cheers All Around!

The 2015 Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss Vietnam Summer Training Program is starting to grow in numbers as we end the first week.
All the Vietnamese teachers taking part in the Kindergarten Classroom Training Program that starts next week arrived Wednesday evening. They came two days early so they could engage together in pre-work and preparations in anticipation of the start of their training program next week.

Some of the Vietnamese in our Auditory Verbal Therapy and Early Intervention Program arrived early as well.  At the end of our last training program in March, these therapists took initiative to start developing a master handbook of Global Foundation training material that we have provided to them over the past five years. This comprehensive handbook will be their guide as they train other professionals and families in Vietnam moving forward.

Approximately 15 therapists took ownership to develop the outline for this master handbook. I received the final draft of their work about a month ago. I shared it with some of our Global Foundation professionals who have been the Vietnamese mentors over the years for their input and feedback. All of us were impressed with the thought and depth that they put into this outline.
This week, these therapists arrived early to the start of their training program next week to finalize this outline and identify content that will go into the master handbook.  Yesterday, a few hours were spent reviewing the Global Foundation team's feedback. They welcomed the input and took diligent notes. Some of the feedback even created additional discussion among the Vietnamese. It has been such an inspiring effort to observe as it unfolds.

Meanwhile, the Audiology Training Program has been going at full-tilt this week with Global Foundation audiologist Julie Verhoff doing a wonderful job leading the effort.

As we near the end of the first week of this program, the training aspects have stepped up quite a bit. Case files have expanded to include some new tools, The Vietnamese audiology technicians have been tasked to take ownership of the children they are seeing, working in teams to conduct full hearing assessments, hearing aid fittings and adjustments, parent counseling, and case review. Some families are here for several hours as part of this process .And it has been very good for everyone involved.
The teachers and therapists who came early have also spent some time observing the Audiology Training Program. It was great to see the Vietnamese teachers, therapists, and audiology technicians share learning about the children and talk among themselves about collaboration opportunities to help optimize the children's performance.

These informal conversations stayed with the teachers and they continued brainstorming as a group later about how they can help resolve some audiological issues the children have faced.

It has always been a key tenant of our program that education and audiology should be working together with parents to assess the children they serve and help them make most use of their hearing technology to learn to listen and talk.  To see the Vietnamese take initiative to carry on such conversations was terrific.  It was also encouraging to see that the Vietnamese therapists working on the master handbook had decided to include an entire section about pediatric audiology. It all bodes well to demonstrate alignment with this collaborative vision.

A great first week all around!  Now we look forward to the rest of the Global Foundation professionals arriving this weekend to kick off the Education training efforts.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tenacity Goes a Long Way

Today was the first day of the sixth annual Global Foundation for Children With Hearing Loss Vietnam Summer Training Program. We're starting off with our audiology course for Vietnamese audiology technicians (next week, teachers and therapists get underway with their own GFCHL training programs). Our goal is to be sure that the audio techs and the centers that we work with in Vietnam have the equipment and expertise needed to support the needs of young children with hearing loss who are learning to listen and talk.

Audiology is equipment intensive and besides being expensive equipment that is needed, there are also challenges with getting things set up in a low income country. The Vietnamese audio techs were impressive today installing new equipment, setting up drives, software, laptops, etc  Over lunch, one of the Vietnamese even figured out how to construct -- by hand-- a cable connector that we needed to get some systems to work.  To think they did all this with English language-based equipment and software while not fluent in English themselves is remarkable.

It makes you people in low-resource areas like Vietnam are usually driven to utilize any training and education they receive and also have the tenacity to find a way to get things done.

In a lighter moment, one of our interpreters told me that some of the participants were feeling sleepy during the afternoon lectures because the A/C in the room felt so cold on their heads.  I asked him to confirm….they are falling asleep because the room is COOL?  When he nodded yes, I explained to him that in the United States, we often keep our conference rooms on the cooler side as not to make people feel sleepy sitting in a warm room.  That kicked off a humorous exchange between us and Vietnamese about warm rooms vs cool rooms and which one puts you to sleep faster.

See?  There’s never a dull moment. :-)

Our clinical practicum starts tomorrow. The Vietnamese audio techs and GFCHL will be testing young children under 6 years of age who are supported by teachers and therapists we have trained in auditory-verbal therapy and early intervention. Children who need them will receive new hearing aids…that’s the best part!  And we even have a 17 month old with hearing loss coming in soon to get her first ever pair of hearing aids. We're excited!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Here We Go...Summer #6 in Vietnam!

One of the priorities for the Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss in the next year is to enhance audiology services in three targeted provinces. These provinces have teachers and therapists who have been trained by the Global Foundation in auditory-verbal practice and some audiology technicians. Such audiology services would complement services provided in Ho Chi Minh City and would enable families living in the provinces to get more timely care for their children with hearing loss. It would also allow teachers and therapists a way to respond more quickly to changes in a child's hearing than currently is the case.

This summer, the Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss will focus on this key goal as we engage in our sixth Summer Training Program. We will help the audiology technicians enrolled in our program continue to develop their pediatric audiology skills. During the practicum, we have a host of children coming in for testing, hearing aid fitting, and verification.  One of the children on the schedule is 17 months old and has a severe hearing loss. She will be receiving her first-ever pair of hearing aids from us. That is going to be very exciting and we are looking forward to that moment!

This summer's Audiology program overlaps with the AV Therapy, Early Intervention, and AV Classroom training programs.  Though these Education workshops don’t officially start for a few more weeks, the Vietnamese participants are planning to arrive early.  Those in the Classroom program will engage together in some of the pre-work that has been assigned to them. Meanwhile, the Vietnamese EI/Therapy participants will be working together on the Master Handbook of Global Foundation materials and presentations that they have taken initiative to create. This Master Handbook will be their guide as they train others in Vietnam about the Global Foundation curriculum moving forward.  So, there is lots of motivation and energy flowing around these parts.

Our most advanced-level Vietnamese teachers/therapists and Vietnamese audiology technicians will be enrolled in our program this July. We also have several Vietnamese professionals who have been invited to observe for various reasons but are not at the advanced level to participate.

Children under 6 years old will engage in our Therapy/EI/Classroom practicum sessions every day along with their parents. A host of children will be seen during the Audiology practicum with some getting new hearing aids. These children are all supported by the audiology technicians and teachers enrolled in our Vietnam Program which ensures they will receive the ongoing support they need to develop listening and spoken language.

We also have a Parent Night scheduled that will involve families and other caregivers who will come to learn about how to support their children at home.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Presentation at World Health Organization

Executive Director Paige Stringer will join a contingent of hearing health professionals to present at the World Health Organization Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland tomorrow. 

This prestigious annual event features representatives of Ministries of Health from all of WHO’s 194 Member countries who will gather at the United Nations Palais to take part in the process of making decisions about global health issues and priorities. 

Thanks to the tremendous efforts of an international group of hearing health professionals, the issue of hearing loss is gaining some attention on the world stage. 

This year, a report on hearing loss has been requested as part of the Health Assembly. We are very honored to have been included in this incredible opportunity to represent the hearing health cause and the 360 million people who are affected by hearing loss around the world.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Success Looks Like This

Kim Anh lives in Vietnam and has severe to profound hearing loss. Two years ago, the Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss provided two hearing aids for her which were fit by Vietnamese audiology technicians in our program.  At the time she had very little language and needed early intervention support to learn how to process sounds she was not born hearing to learn to listen and talk.

With ongoing support of her family and teachers trained by the Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss, she has made great progress. Kim Anh is on track to enter her mainstream school next year.  Check out this short video for a smile (enable captions for English subtitles):

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Global Effort to Help Children With Hearing Loss

Thank you to our friends at Sound Intuition for publishing this article written by Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss Executive Director Paige Stringer about our work in Vietnam. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

March Mobile Mission Update - Hanoi

The Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss continued its March Mobile Mission in Hanoi at the Hanoi National Pediatric Hospital and Hanoi National University of Education.  Auditory-Verbal Therapists Lyndsey Allen and Sally Tannenbaum taught the Global Foundation curriculum with a host of therapists in both locations.

The focus of this program was on identifying development goals, strategies, and activities to help a child with hearing loss in areas of audition and listening. The Global Foundation therapists combined lecture with live sessions with children and their families for mentorship and feedback by the Global Foundation therapists.

Our Audiology team comprised Stacy Claycomb, Megan Mansfield, and Adam Chell.  Similar to our program at Children’s Hospital 1 in the South, the audiology training program was for ENT physicians and audiology technicians who work with children with hearing loss throughout Hanoi.  In addition to focusing on hearing test protocols, hearing aids fitting and verification, we also spent much time talking about diagnostics and how to determine the best solution for a given child’s hearing loss and family situation.

A Parent Night was held at an Early Intervention Center in Hanoi which drew about 30 families to attend.