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Meet Son A Chang, the First LSL Specialist in South Korea

Son A Chang, PhD, LSLS Cert. AVT, is the first certified Listening and Spoken Language Specialist (LSL Specialist) in South Korea.


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By Lisa A. Goldstein

In the 1990s, families thanked her because their children could talk. In the 2000s, families thanked her because their children could get a cochlear implant at the right time and receive a mainstream education. In the 2010s, families thanked her because she built up auditory-verbal therapy (AVT) education programs for therapists, allowing their children to receive AVT services around Korea.

“Last week, one of the mothers came up and thanked me because I introduced the FM system to her son even though she was against using it,” Dr. Chang said. “She cried and hugged me, saying that she realized if her son had not used the system, he would have had a much harder time at school.”

In 1996, Dr. Chang was working at one of the biggest hospitals in Korea when one of the surgeons started cochlear implantation, bringing her into the hearing sciences field. She was frustrated with the discovery because it was difficult to see improvement in children with hearing loss. That is, until she found AVT.

As a speech pathologist and audiologist, Dr. Chang received her certification as an LSL Specialist in 2005. The process took three years. Unfortunately, she had to go abroad to get her continuing education units and could only maintain the certification for six years. This meant redoing everything from the beginning for another three years. But she received her second certification in 2018, and was still the first certified LSL Specialist in Korea.

Dr. Chang spent several years between 2005 and 2020 in both the U.S. and Korea. The experiences in both countries helped her refine her AVT skills. For eight years, she worked as a professor in Korea, where she received government funds and collaborated with many organizations on 12 government and company research projects, resulting in a patent for a speech perception testing tool.

She cited several mentors who helped her along the way, including Warren Estabrook, Dimity Dornan, Trudy Smith, Donna Sperandia, and many Listening and Spoken Language professionals around the world.

Now Dr. Chang is Managing Director of Soree Rehabilitation Center, part of Soree Ear Clinic, which is Korea’s largest auditory rehabilitation center. In addition to working in the medical field, Dr. Chang works closely with the government system. People with hearing loss in Korea need more support from the government, she said. “There are many issues we are working on for the sake of people with hearing loss,” she added. “For example, bilateral support for adult patients, development of early intervention, and social integration.”

Lisa A. Goldstein is a freelance journalist with a Master’s in journalism from UC Berkeley. She has been a member of AG Bell since 1982 and has a cochlear implant and digital hearing aid.

Dra. Son A Chang: primer especialista en LSL de Corea del Sur

En la década de 1990, las familias le agradecían que sus hijos pudieran hablar. En la década de 2000, las familias le daban las gracias porque sus hijos podían recibir un implante coclear en el momento oportuno y estudiar en el sistema educativo ordinario. En la década de 2010, las familias le estaban agradecidas por crear programas de formación en terapia auditivo-verbal (TAV) para terapeutas, lo que permitía que sus hijos recibieran servicios de TAV en toda Corea.

«La semana pasada, una de las madres se me acercó y me dio las gracias por haber dado a conocer el sistema FM a su hijo, a pesar de que ella se mostraba en contra de usarlo», explica la Dra. Chang. «Lloró y me abrazó, diciendo que se daba cuenta de que si su hijo no hubiera utilizado el sistema, lo habría pasado mucho peor en la escuela».

En 1996, la Dra. Chang trabajaba en uno de los mayores hospitales de Corea cuando uno de los cirujanos empezó a implantar prótesis cocleares, lo que la introdujo en el campo de las ciencias de la audición. Se sentía frustrada con el descubrimiento porque era difícil apreciar mejoras en los niños con pérdida auditiva, hasta que conoció la TAV.

Como logopeda y audióloga, la Dra. Chang recibió su certificación como Especialista en LSL en 2005. El proceso duró tres años. Desafortunadamente, tuvo que trasladarse al extranjero para obtener sus unidades de formación continua y solo pudo mantener la certificación seis años, lo que significó volver a realizar todo el proceso desde el principio durante otros tres años. No obstante, recibió su segunda certificación en 2018 y seguía siendo el primer especialista en LSL certificado en Corea.

La Dra. Chang vivió varios años, entre 2005 y 2020, tanto en Estados Unidos como en Corea. Las experiencias en ambos países le ayudaron a perfeccionar sus conocimientos de TAV. Durante ocho años trabajó como profesora en Corea, donde recibió fondos del gobierno y colaboró con numerosas organizaciones en 12 proyectos de investigación gubernamentales y empresariales, consiguiendo la patente de una herramienta de medición de la percepción del habla.

La Dra. Chang menciona varios mentores que le ayudaron en el camino, como Warren Estabrook, Dimity Dornan, Trudy Smith, Donna Sperandia y muchos profesionales de la Escucha y el Lenguaje Hablado de todo el mundo.

Actualmente, es directora gerente del Centro de Rehabilitación Soree, que forma parte de la Clínica Auditiva Soree, el mayor centro de rehabilitación auditiva de Corea. Además de trabajar en el campo de la medicina, la Dra. Chang colabora estrechamente con el sistema gubernamental. Las personas con pérdida de auditiva en Corea necesitan más apoyo del gobierno, afirma. «Hay muchas áreas en las que estamos trabajando por el bien de las personas con pérdida auditiva», añade. «Por ejemplo, el apoyo bilateral a pacientes adultos, el desarrollo de la intervención temprana y la integración social».

Lisa A. Goldstein es periodista independiente con Maestría en Periodismo de la UC Berkeley. Ha sido miembro de AG Bell desde 1982 y tiene una coclear implante y audífono digital.

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