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Audiology Teaching and Training in Vietnam: Interview with Paige Stringer

Audiology Teaching and Training in Vietnam: Interview with Paige Stringer

April 18, 2011 Interviews

Douglas L. Beck, AuD, speaks with Paige Stringer, executive director of the Global Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss, about her latest efforts in teaching and training families, teachers, and students in Vietnam Deaf Education Program.

Academy:

Hi, Paige. Nice to catch up with you again.

Stringer:

Thanks, Doug. I appreciate your ongoing interest and support of the Global Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss (www.childrenwithhearingloss.org).

Academy: Paige, I know you've been very busy building the foundation, teaching teachers, and addressing the needs of children with hearing loss across the world. Can you give me a quick review of the last few months and the upcoming events?
Stringer:

Absolutely. It's been busy! We've been evaluating our performance and success in Vietnam from our 2010 summer program at Thuan An Center and the feedback has been great on both qualitative and quantitative scales. We're all feeling pretty good about that, but of course, there's a lot more to do! We've expanded our Vietnam Deaf Education Program to address the needs for audiology training in hospitals and greater access to hearing aids.

The 35 schools for the deaf in our program stretch from central to south Vietnam. The 90 teachers that came from those schools to board and engage in our training at Thuan An Center last summer asked that we add a new element to our program. They requested that we visit their individual schools during the school year to help them better apply their new knowledge to their specific situations. The goal of our Deaf Education Program remains the same as we continue to add new dimensions—to empower teachers, families, and professionals in Vietnam with the expertise to help young children with hearing loss develop listening and spoken language skills in the first six years of life.

Academy:

That's great….and I guess that was the impetus to go back in January of 2011?

Stringer:

Exactly….we visited four schools in Dalat, Danang, and Ho Chi Minh City and invited teachers and families from five other programs to observe. Professionals at local hearing aid distributors, a Hanoi ENT hospital, and from cochlear shadowed the training. The Global Foundation's team was comprised of Jane Madell, Judy Simser, Lea Watson, Joanne Restivo, Charlotte Ducote, and Sharad Govil (we tried to get you to join us too!).

Jane, Joanne, and Sharad provided on-site audiology training while Judy and Lea coached teachers in the classrooms about auditory-verbal techniques. Charlotte offered expertise on speech and language development. Each evening we had a lecture and practicum for families who came from miles around to attend. It was a great opportunity to engage with the teachers and families in their home environments and address the unique challenges faced by each location. Collectively, we worked with about 200 teachers and families across all our school visits. We also hosted a Saturday lecture in Ho Chi Minh City for another 200 medical professionals, teachers, families, and students focused on pediatric hearing loss and auditory and language development.

Academy:

And how many hearing aids did you fit in January 2011?

Stringer:

We had 95 hearing aids from Oticon, Phonak, and Solar Ear and we fit all of those on low-income children—and as you can imagine—that had a terrific impact on these children and their families.

Academy:

Excellent…and so you've been working in Vietnam in July 2010, then in January 2011, and now you're going back again in July 2011?

Stringer:

Exactly. We will conduct the second year of our summer program at Thuan An Center. Our team of 15 professionals from across the United States in audiology, speech pathology, early intervention, and auditory-verbal education have volunteered their time. They are hard at work devising the curriculum and will lead the training in Vietnam. We also have a contingent of six graduate students joining us. About 60 participants who passed the final test from last summer's workshop will take part in more advanced training and practicum. Another 40 participants, either new to the program or those who didn't fare as well on last year's final test will engage in the more basic curriculum we designed last year.

We used test results and quantitative feedback from last year's program to identify areas of opportunity, and added some new elements. We'll be offering video analysis, teacher consultations, and parent coaching for example. We also added a four-week audiology track to give those who do audiology work at the schools more in-depth training. The top-performers attending our advanced class will be helping us to teach the basic course, too.

Academy:

Excellent….Combining advanced training with an opportunity to teach the new students will re-invigorate the first group and allow them to give back to the program.

Stringer:

Absolutely. They're an exciting and fun group and the more challenges and participation they have - the better the final result! Training teachers to train each other also ensures the sustainability of our efforts.

Academy:

And you've had financial grants and hearing aid donations to support your work?

Stringer:

Yes…we've been honored to receive financial or in-kind support this past year from the Oticon Foundation, University Lions Foundation, the U.S. Consulate in Vietnam, Aud-M-Ed, Apex Foundation, The Kopernik, Dorothea Haus Ross Foundation, Phonak, Ear Gear, and Hal-Hen Company. The Global Foundation is a 100 percent volunteer-based organization and we totally rely on these grants and contributions to do our work. The needs of the children and the teachers and families in Vietnam remain enormous, and although our help is greatly appreciated and it really has made a terrific difference—there's much more to do. We offer audiologic training, parent consultations, and of course we fit all the hearing aids we can, we're educating teachers, teacher assistants, early intervention therapists, and more. So yes, new grants, donations, and hearing aid contributions would be very welcome!

Academy:

And for the readers who would like to donate financial or other resources, the best thing to do is to get in contact with you directly, right?

Stringer:

Yes. Anyone interested in making a donation should contact me directly or visit our Web site. We also encourage pediatric audiologists interested in sharing their expertise with the wider world to visit our website to apply for volunteer opportunities.

Academy:

Thanks Paige! I appreciate all the work you do and I'll look forward to following up with again you in the fall 2011, and I hope to get the opportunity to join you in the field, perhaps in 2012!

Paige Stringer is the executive director of the Global Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss. She can be reached at paige@childrenwithhearingloss.org.

Douglas L. Beck, AuD, Board Certified in Audiology, is the Web content editor for the American Academy of Audiology.

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