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More Than Irish Luck

A Q&A with Rosie Gardner on LSL’s outlook in Ireland

Lea en Español

By Lisa A. Goldstein

The Listening and Spoken Language (LSL) field in Ireland is slowly growing, thanks in part to the efforts of Rosie Gardner, BA, LSLS Cert. AVT. Volta Voices had the chance to talk with her about her experiences.

Q: What led you to become a LSLS?

A: I was born and brought up in Kenya and lived for a few years in England. My husband is an Irishman, so when I got married in 1979, I moved to Northern Ireland. I have been a teacher of the deaf (would you believe it!!) for 44 years, although I stopped teaching for 10 of those while I stayed at home to raise my four children.

During that time away from teaching, I continued to study and worked towards a masters in hearing impairment by distance learning. My first degree in education and audiology was from the University of Manchester. Over the years, I have had a passion for working with children [who are deaf] and especially loved the LSL approach.

Towards the end of my long-extended 10-year maternity leave, cochlear implants were just starting and it became an even more exciting field to be in.

As time went by, I worked in various educational settings, then in a peripatetic service for the deaf, finally moving to become the head of the service. After a while, I felt very disillusioned that there didn’t seem to be a very strong argument for LSL and more and more seemed to feel, despite the amazing progress in listening technology, that their child required sign [language]. This was not so much a choice that they made as the information given on the side of LSL seemed weak.

In 2012-2013, I met my first LSLS who was leading a course I attended near Manchester. In that one day, Lyndsey Allen, LSLS Cert. AVT was hugely influential in my thinking and I realized she had wonderful tools to help a child learn to listen and talk. Tools, that I later learned, were AVT strategies. I met up with Louise Ashton from Auditory Verbal – UK (AVUK) in 2013 and was on the brink of signing up to the foundation course in AVT in AVUK which would involve going to London each month for a day. I hesitated due to the cost of flights and the time involved each month.

In 2015, I heard that a group of parents in Dublin known as Our New Ears (ONE) were funding therapists from AVUK to come to Dublin for two days a month to deliver the Foundation course. Being from the north of Ireland, I was not able to avail of the funding so I had to pay but I was thankful that AVUK was able to offer a scholarship for me. Within a few days of hearing about it, I signed up. The training was so exciting, Louise Ashton and Frances Clark so inspiring, and listening to them filled me with a new passion that I hadn’t felt for years. I knew this is how I wanted to finish my career.

Following the day’s training by Lyndsey Allen in 2012-2013, I began to hear from parents about AVT and some of them flew to London to avail of AVT from AVUK. I heard wonderful reports from parents about how much they had learned and to be honest, I felt quite let down that parents were feeling that they weren’t getting sufficient from the hard work the teachers of the deaf were doing. Parents and professionals alike were and are suspicious of new ideas coming in but parents were talking about it with excitement.

Q: What is the LSL scene like in Ireland?

A: Currently, things are changing slowly, especially in the South of Ireland, mainly through the sheer determination and hard work of the parents in ONE. I qualified as a LSLS in March 2019 and at that time, I was the only LSLS Cert. AVT on the island of Ireland; now, January/February 2023, we are about to have our second LSLS, Eimear McQuillan and three more are in training. I am mentoring two professionals, one speech therapist and one teacher of the deaf and so I have great hopes that in a short time, we will be five of us.

Q: How have you contributed to the LSL field in Ireland?

A: I believe I have contributed significantly to the LSL scene. I worked very hard to obtain my 900 hours, driving the length and breadth of the country delivering AVT sessions! I have conducted many webinars and face to face training to raise the profile here. I continue to work hard seeing families on a regular basis; my vision since qualifying in 2019 is to pass the baton on to younger professionals. With ONE’s support and encouragement, we are slowly changing the perspective and allowing people to know that their child can reach for the stars.

Q: What do you want other people to know about the LSL situation in Ireland?

A: I would like others to know that the LSL scene is alive and well and growing although it is still only accessed privately so parents do need to pay. However, in the north, there is a fund available for parents to apply to and in the south, parents can receive a subsidy for the first six sessions from ONE to attend AVT sessions. It would be wonderful to be able to offer it free of charge.

I have a little group of four mentees now and I love it – two in Ireland and two in East Africa.  It is exciting to think these four people will go on to mentor others – this began when ONE invited AVUK to do the foundation course in Dublin. ONE is made up of such an amazing group of wise, kind parents who have the strength and courage to take risks, to stick their necks out and to aim high for the sake of their children and others. As a professional and a parent, I admire them.

 Algo más que «suerte irlandesa»

Entrevista con Rosie Gardner sobre las perspectivas del enfoque de LSL en Irlanda

Por Lisa A. Goldstein

El ámbito de la Escucha y el Lenguaje Hablado (LSL) en Irlanda está creciendo lentamente, gracias en parte a los esfuerzos de Rosie Gardner, BA, LSLS Cert. AVT. Voces de Volta tuvo la oportunidad de hablar con ella sobre sus experiencias.

P: ¿Qué le motivó para convertirse en especialista en LSL?

R: Nací y crecí en Kenia, y viví durante unos años en Inglaterra. Mi marido es irlandés por lo que, cuando nos casamos en 1979, me trasladé a Irlanda del Norte. He sido profesora de sordos (¡cuesta creerlo!) durante 44 años, aunque dejé la docencia durante 10 años para encargarme de la crianza de mis cuatro hijos.

Durante este tiempo alejada de la docencia, seguí estudiando a distancia y conseguí un máster en discapacidad auditiva. Mi primer título en educación y audiología lo obtuve en la University of Manchester. En todos estos años, sentí un extraordinario interés por trabajar con niños [con sordera] y, especialmente, con el enfoque de LSL.

Hacia el final de mi prolongada baja por maternidad de 10 años, los implantes cocleares estaban empezando, por lo que este ámbito adquirió todavía mucho más interés.

Posteriormente, trabajé en varios centros educativos y en un servicio itinerante para personas con sordera y, finalmente, pasé a dirigir este servicio. Al cabo de un tiempo, empecé a sentir una gran desilusión porque no parecían existir argumentos muy sólidos a favor del enfoque de LSL y cada vez más personas parecían creer, a pesar de los espectaculares avances de la tecnología auditiva, que sus hijos necesitaban la lengua de signos. No se trataba tanto de una elección propia, sino de que la información ofrecida a favor de la LSL era escasa.

En 2012-2013 asistí a un curso cerca de Mánchester, donde conocí al primer especialista en LSL (LSLS). Ese mismo día, Lyndsey Allen, LSLS Cert. AVT, ejerció una enorme influencia en mi forma de pensar y me di cuenta de que disponía de unas herramientas extraordinarias para ayudar a los niños a que aprendieran a escuchar y hablar. Unas herramientas que, según supe más tarde, forman parte de las estrategias de la terapia auditivo-verbal (TAV). En 2013 conocí a Louise Ashton de Auditory Verbal – UK (AVUK) y estuve a punto de apuntarme al curso básico de TAV en AVUK que implicaría desplazarme a Londres todos los meses durante un día. Finalmente, no lo hice por el coste de los vuelos y el tiempo que había que dedicar.

En 2015 me enteré de que una asociación de padres de Dublín conocida como Our New Ears (ONE) ofrecía fondos a terapeutas de AVUK para que se desplazasen a Dublín dos días al mes para impartir el curso básico. Dado que residía en el norte de Irlanda, no pude beneficiarme de estos fondos, por lo que tuve que pagarme el curso, si bien agradecí que AVUK me ofreciera una beca. A los pocos días de enterarme, me apunté. La formación era tan interesante y Louise Ashton y Frances Clark mostraban tanta dedicación que, al escucharles, sentí un entusiasmo renovado que hacía años que no sentía. Me di cuenta de que así era como quería terminar mi carrera.

Tras la jornada de formación impartida por Lyndsey Allen en 2012-2013, empecé a oír hablar a los padres sobre la TAV y algunos de ellos se desplazaban a Londres para conocer la TAV de AVUK. Escuché comentarios maravillosos sobre lo mucho que habían aprendido y, para ser sincera, me sentí bastante decepcionada de que sintieran que no estaban obteniendo resultados suficientes del arduo trabajo que realizaban los profesores de sordos. Tanto los padres como los profesionales desconfiaban y desconfían de la llegada de nuevas ideas, pero los padres hablaban de ellas con entusiasmo.

P: ¿Cómo es el panorama del enfoque de LSL en Irlanda?

R: En la actualidad, las cosas están cambiando lentamente, sobre todo en el sur de Irlanda, principalmente gracias a la gran determinación y al arduo trabajo de los padres de ONE. Obtuve la certificación como LSLS en marzo de 2019 y, en aquel momento, era el único LSLS Cert. AVT en la isla de Irlanda; actualmente, enero/febrero de 2023, estamos a punto de conseguir nuestro segundo LSLS, Eimear McQuillan, y tres más se encuentran en la etapa de formación. Soy mentora de dos profesionales, un logopeda y un profesor de sordos, por lo que tengo grandes esperanzas de que en poco tiempo seamos cinco.

P: ¿Cómo ha contribuido al enfoque de LSL en Irlanda?

R: Creo que he contribuido significativamente a dar a conocer este enfoque. ¡Me esforcé muchísimo para conseguir mis 900 horas, conduciendo a lo largo y ancho del país para facilitar sesiones de TAV! He impartido muchos seminarios web y cursillos de formación presencial para elevar el nivel existente. Me sigo esforzando para atender a las familias de una manera regular y mi objetivo, desde que obtuve la certificación en 2019, es pasar el relevo a profesionales más jóvenes. Gracias al apoyo y el ánimo de ONE, poco a poco estamos cambiando la forma de pensar y consiguiendo que los padres sepan que sus hijos pueden conseguir lo que se propongan.

P: ¿Qué desea que otras personas conozcan sobre la situación del enfoque de LSL en Irlanda?

R: Me gustaría que supieran que el enfoque de LSL está vivo y creciendo, si bien todavía solo se accede de forma privada, por lo que los padres deben pagar por los servicios. No obstante, en el norte, existe un fondo disponible para que los padres presenten su solicitud y, en el sur, pueden recibir un subsidio de ONE para asistir a las primeras seis sesiones de TAV. Sería maravilloso que se ofrecieran de forma gratuita.

Actualmente tengo un grupo de cuatro alumnos y estoy encantada: dos en Irlanda y dos en África Oriental.  Es emocionante pensar que estos cuatro profesionales podrán ser mentores de otros. Todo empezó cuando ONE invitó a AVUK a que impartiese el curso básico en Dublín. ONE lo compone un grupo maravilloso de padres juiciosos y afables que tienen la fuerza y la valentía de asumir riesgos, esforzarse y apuntar alto por el bien de sus hijos y otras personas. Como profesional y madre, cuentan con mi admiración.

 

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