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Mentoring Across Borders: Supporting Deaf Children All Over the World

AVUK is working with professionals all over the world to build a sound future for children who are DHH!


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By Frances Clark

“If a lot of small people in a lot of small places, do a lot of small things, they can change the face of the world” – African proverb

Laura is a teacher of the deaf who is training to become a LSLS Cert. AVT (Listening and Spoken Language Specialist in Auditory-Verbal Therapy). In the grand scope of the world, she is a small person, doing a small thing, but she knows that she is making a difference in the lives of the children who are deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) and the families she works with.

Every month, she opens her laptop and logs in to her webinar with UK-based charity and internationally accredited training provider, Auditory Verbal UK (AVUK). After watching the video tutorial on Theory of Mind, she is excited to meet with her tutor and the three other people in her training group to share learnings and to watch video clips of strategies they have tried in their sessions with DHH children. Laura hadn’t considered working on humour in lessons before, but this was her “Take Home Message” from her webinar and she is keen to get going!

Laura works at a Hearing Resource base at a local school in England, and is joined in her training group by Jo, a speech and language therapist based in Tokyo (Japan); Margaret, a teacher of the deaf in Chicago (United States); and Bongi, an audiologist in Johannesburg (South Africa). The group is diverse yet cohesive. They have learned so much from each other and have seen how hearing loss affects families from all walks of life, across the world.

As well as their regular group webinars, they all meet with their individual mentor to review their full auditory-verbal therapy sessions and to focus on their development. Each group member will attend 20 of these mentoring sessions, one following each video assignment. All of them will tell you this was daunting at first, but they have learned to appreciate their own strengths as specialized therapists and that the learning never comes to an end. Eventually the camera that is recording their assignments is forgotten and the magic happens in the moment, between them (the therapist), the parent, and the child.

There is Value in Specialized Training

Sophie works on a learning module and is seeking to expand her knowledge of Listening and Spoken Language development.

These professionals are often asked why on earth they would want to do three years of additional training to become an LSL Specialist, after already qualifying as a professional speech-language pathologist, audiologist or teacher of the deaf.

The answer is that this specialized training provides a lens for looking at the detailed aspects of one’s therapy techniques, from checking the LING sounds, to coaching parents, to developing speech or working out the next language goal. It provides an opportunity to be creative with books, play and therapy activities. It enables the world to become that much smaller, with a community of people wanting the same thing for the families they support.

Laura’s personal answer to the question of why she would train for all that time is that the professional training makes a difference: she saw it from the very first time she attended a training session. When she put the techniques she learned into practice with the DHH children in her classroom, they worked! She made changes, and she saw results! Her lightbulb moment came very early and the inspiration to continue burned bright.
This group has all already successfully completed AVUK’s 6-month foundation training course and now they are part-way through the advanced course, which will give them all the academic knowledge to sit the AG Bell Academy certification exam and become a certified LSL Specialist.

AVUK’s mission is to train enough LSLS certified auditory-verbal therapists in the UK so that every family who wants a listening and spoken language outcome for their child can access a qualified practitioner close to where they live, through locally funded services. Our wish, for the UK and the world, is that every child who is deaf and hard of hearing has access to early and effective support whether their families wish to use spoken language, sign language or both.

Since the training programme for working with DHH children began in 2012, AVUK has trained over 300 professionals in the UK and across the world. Some of these professionals, such as those in Denmark, have gone on to mentor more therapists, making significant differences in their own country. Some, such as those in Norway, are learning how to mentor as part of AVUK’s “mentor the mentor”/ “train the trainer project”, which is in development. Others are right at the start of their journey working through the Foundation course, but they are already making big changes, such as implementing hearing aid checks across the entire school where they work to optimize technology.

Together, we can build a sound future for children who are DHH!

For more information regarding AVUK’s training programme, please visit www.avuk.org.

To hear about the program from professionals on the course, watch this video:

Frances Clark, BA Speech and Hearing Therapy (Speech Pathology and Audiology), LSLS Cert. AVT®, is a Senior Auditory Verbal Therapist and London Clinic Lead with Auditory Verbal UK.

Mentoría traspasando fronteras: apoyo a los niños sordos de todo el mundo

«Si muchas personas pequeñas en muchos lugares pequeños hacen muchas cosas pequeñas, pueden cambiar la faz del mundo» – proverbio africano

Laura es profesora de sordos y se está formando para obtener el certificado LSLS Cert. AVT (Especialista en Escucha y Lenguaje Hablado en Terapia Auditivo-Verbal). En términos generales, es una persona pequeña que hace algo pequeño, pero sabe que está marcando la diferencia en la vida de los niños con sordera e hipoacusia, y de las familias con las que trabaja.

Cada mes, abre su portátil y se conecta a su seminario web con la organización benéfica británica Auditory Verbal UK (AVUK), proveedora de formación acreditada internacionalmente. Después de ver el video tutorial sobre Teoría de la mente, está deseando reunirse con su tutora y las otras tres personas de su grupo de formación para compartir lo aprendido y ver videos de estrategias que han probado en sus sesiones con niños con sordera e hipoacusia. Laura no se había planteado antes trabajar el humor en las clases, pero este fue su «mensaje para llevarse a casa» del seminario web ¡y está deseando ponerse manos a la obra!

Laura trabaja en una base de Recursos Auditivos en una escuela local de Inglaterra y en su grupo de formación la acompañan Jo, logopeda afincada en Tokio (Japón), Margaret, profesora de sordos en Chicago (Estados Unidos) y Bongi, audióloga en Johannesburgo (Sudáfrica). El grupo es diverso pero cohesionado. Han aprendido mucho unas de otras y son testigos de cómo la pérdida auditiva afecta a familias de todas las clases sociales y en todo el mundo.

Además de los seminarios en grupo, todas se reúnen con su mentor individual para revisar sus sesiones completas de terapia auditivo-verbal y centrarse en su desarrollo. Cada miembro del grupo asistirá a 20 de estas sesiones de mentoría, una después de cada tarea de video. Todas dirán que fue desalentador al principio, pero que han aprendido a apreciar sus propias fortalezas como terapeutas especializadas y que el aprendizaje nunca termina. Al final, se olvidan de la cámara que está grabando sus tareas y la magia sucede en el momento, entre ellas (la terapeuta), el progenitor y el niño.

La formación especializada tiene su valor

A menudo se les pregunta a estos profesionales por qué querrían cursar tres años de formación adicional para convertirse en especialistas en LSL, después de haber obtenido ya el título de logopeda, audiólogo o profesor de sordos.

La respuesta es que esta formación especializada proporciona una lente para observar los aspectos detallados de las propias técnicas terapéuticas, desde la comprobación del reconocimiento de los sonidos de LING hasta el entrenamiento/coaching de los progenitores, pasando por el desarrollo del habla o el desarrollo del siguiente objetivo lingüístico. Ofrece la oportunidad de ser creativo con los libros, el juego y las actividades terapéuticas. Permite que el mundo se haga mucho más pequeño, con una comunidad de personas que desean lo mismo para las familias a las que apoyan.

La respuesta personal de Laura a la pregunta de por qué realizaría este gran esfuerzo es que la formación profesional marca la diferencia: lo comprobó desde la primera vez que asistió a una sesión de formación. Cuando puso en práctica las técnicas aprendidas con los niños con sordera e hipoacusia de su clase, ¡funcionaron! Hizo cambios ¡y vio resultados! Se le encendió la bombilla muy pronto y la inspiración para continuar brilló con fuerza.
Este grupo ya ha completado con éxito el curso básico de formación de 6 meses de AVUK y actualmente se encuentra en la mitad del curso avanzado, donde adquirirán todos los conocimientos académicos para presentarse al examen de certificación de la Academia AG Bell y convertirse en Especialistas LSL certificadas.

La misión de AVUK es formar a un número suficiente de terapeutas auditivo-verbales certificados en LSLS en el Reino Unido, de modo que todas las familias que deseen que su hijo(a) aprenda a escuchar y a hablar puedan acceder a un profesional cualificado cerca de donde residen, a través de servicios financiados localmente. Nuestro deseo, para el Reino Unido y el mundo, es que todos los niños con sordera o hipoacusia tengan acceso a un apoyo temprano y eficaz, independientemente de que sus familias deseen utilizar el lenguaje hablado, la lengua de signos o ambos.

Desde que comenzó el programa de formación para trabajar con niños con sordera e hipoacusia en 2012, AVUK ha formado a más de 300 profesionales en el Reino Unido y en todo el mundo. Algunos de estos profesionales, como los de Dinamarca, han pasado a ser mentores de otros terapeutas, marcando diferencias significativas en su propio país. Otros, como los de Noruega, están aprendiendo a ser mentores en el marco del proyecto «mentar al mentor»/«formar al formador» de la AVUK, que está en fase de desarrollo. Otros se encuentran justo al principio de su andadura, realizando el curso básico, pero ya están haciendo grandes cambios, como implementar controles de audífonos en toda la escuela en la que trabajan para optimizar la tecnología.

¡Juntos podemos construir un futuro mejor para los niños con sordera e hipoacusia!

Para obtener más información sobre el programa de formación de AVUK, visite www.avuk.org.

Para conocer el programa de la mano de profesionales del campo, vea este video:

Frances Clark, Licenciada en Habla y Audición Terapia (Patología del Habla y Audiología), LSLS Cert. AVT®, es un Auditor Senior Terapeuta verbal y líder de la clínica de Londres con Auditivo Verbal del Reino Unido.

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