Developed countries have for years now successfully researched and implemented therapy programs for all populations affected by a communication or swallowing disorder. Now more and more qualified and competent therapists are bringing their skills and knowledge to developing countries in need of support. As a professional in the field of communication and swallowing disorders, the role of a therapist is to not only provide therapy, but to educate others by spreading awareness about the population we serve and the available support to improve our client’s quality of life. This is an exceptionally important role to play in developing countries as their is limited knowledge regarding the individual client’s condition, the knowledge that there are professionals qualified to help, and the knowledge of the field of Speech-Language Pathology as a whole.
Over the past recent years, SLP/SLTs have begun working in developing countries and have started to lay the foundation for education and intervention within the field. Many SLP/SLTs, both at student and professional levels, have devoted weeks, months, and even years to living in a developing country to share their expertise through the education and intervention of therapy. Programs have also been developed to train local students to be a qualified clinician in order to provide continued and effective support within their own country.
It is an incredible cause and one that I wish to be part of first as a student to further understand the need for intervention in developing countries and then as a certified clinician to competently provide effective intervention.
If you are interested in this cause as well, keep reading to find out more about how to work or volunteer overseas…
Therapy Abroad offers 1-2 week student programs in several developing countries around the world for SLP/OT/PT undergraduate and graduate students. Gain hands-on experience evaluating and treating clients with the supervision of licensed clinicians and earn credit towards your practicum/observation hours!
Visit the Student Placements Abroad page to learn more about university programs offering the opportunity to learn and develop clinical skills while working in developing countries.
International Volunteer HQ offers affordable volunteer opportunities to work with children with special needs in Uganda and other countries. Individuals trained in speech therapy may also have the opportunity to volunteer in this area.
Therapy Abroad offers volunteer opportunitis for professionals in several developing countries around the world! The oorganization also provides opportunities for licensed clinicians (SLP/OT/PT) to work as a supervisor for an undergraduate or gradute student program and will receive a stipend for their time.
Speech Therapy Cambodia‘s mission is to improve the speech, language and swallowing skills of children and adults in Cambodia and to train healthcare professionals and families in therapeutic skills and techniques. Volunteer to teach and provide services in different settings with Speech Therapy Cambodia!
The Inspiration Center — Volunteer for one of the only established clinics in Belize providing speech and occupational therapy.
Projects Abroad (both students and professionals)
- Fiji– Volunteer for 2-8+ weeks in a school setting. Requirements include a Bachelor’s degree or higher in speech therapy or a related field and 2 years of experience is desirable
- Morocco, Vietnam, Togo
- Morocco– Volunteer for 2-12+ weeks in a day-care or school setting. Knowledge of French or Arabic is required as well as 1 year of speech and language studies.
- Vietnam– Volunteer in a hospital, clinic, school, or rehab center from 2-12+weeks. Knowledge of Vietnamese is not required but a language course is recommended. Current students and qualified professionals are welcome to apply.
- Togo– Volunteer in a school, an NGO, or a deaf school anywhere from 2 to 12+ weeks. Knowledge of French is necessary to facilitate communication and interaction.
Volunteer Services Organization (VSO) offers both short-term (6 months) and long-term (1-2 years) volunteer opportunities for qualified SLP/SLTs in countries of all parts of the world. Explore the opportunities online or attend a VSO event to learn more.
- Short-term positions- The clinician is required to have at least 5 years of experience.
- Long-term positions- The clinician is required to have at least 2 years experience.
International Speech Project- Stuttering aims to bring services geared towards people who stutter to the developing world. Learn more about the project’s history, achievements, and future plans and learn more about volunteer opportunities.
Volunteer Base Camp seeks speech therapy volunteers with a minimum of 2 years education in Ghana for 1-8+ weeks. The placement is focused on Autism Awareness, Care, and Training.