Family Fun Day

The Inspiration Center celebrated its 5th Annual Family Fun Day on August 18th and Therapy Abroad was excited to be a part of the action! A group of around 50 kiddos joined in on the fun day as they traveled through different stations including the photo booth, sensory play and the water station (my personal favorite)! The group of attendees included the speech and physical therapy clients who are seen at The Inspiration Center along with their siblings and caregivers. It was eye-opening to realize that the clients we saw at Family Fun Day were only a fraction of those who receive services from the sole SLP and PT at The Inspiration Center.

The ladies of group 3 had the best time playing with the kids all day– some of our campers from the current and previous Communication Camp groups were there too!

Classic Photo Booth pic with the ladies of Group 3 before our day of FUNNNN got started <3

The best part about Family Fun Day was seeing the children take part in and enjoy every activity no matter what physical challenges or communication needs they presented with. It just goes to show that every child has the ability to embrace the same experiences in life and that disability is only reflected in the obstacles we allow to get in the way of success for every child. When we open our eyes and find ways to overcome these barriers is when we realize the potential of every child and their ability to grow and learn.

Your SLP Overseas,
-Kristin AmRhein

Cambodia Project—Week 8: 2nd-6th November

This past week brought some exciting new developments!

Monday was no ordinary admin day. In search for a video on feeding babies with cleft lip and palate to add to our Friday presentation, we found a great animated video created by Smile Train, an NGO we later found out supports funding for cleft surgeries at some of our hospital settings. We are keen to make a feeding video as well but in Khmer. So we emailed Smile Train for permission to create a Khmer voice-over for the original copy and they agreed! Even more exciting– Today (Monday, 9th November), we have a meeting with Smile Train as they are interested in supporting funding for SLT in Cambodia! We are eager to hear what they have to say and how we can work together to continue raising awareness for SLT while we are here. Follow this link to watch the video we hope to create a Khmer version of!

On Tuesday, we saw Samnang at Children’s Surgical Centre. The twins weren’t able to make it to the therapy session again, but we saw two new cleft kiddies for a speech assessment. This gave us an opportunity to focus on Samnang’s clinical skills for carrying out assessments. He’s already great at asking the right questions for a case history and has quite good instincts in terms of appropriate decision-making, but we wanted to teach him the importance of introducing the session and informing clients of exactly why they are at the clinic and what will occur. A lot of people don’t understand the purpose of speech and language therapy here so it’s our goal to emphasize the importance of what we are doing for their children. We also built up his skills in assessing speech sounds by teaching him the importance of testing for stimulability of a sound on its own if the child is not able to produce it in a word during assessment as this informs the approach we will take in therapy. He proved to be a very receptive and quick learner, and by the time the second child came in for assessment, he was independently introducing the session and feeding back to us the specific difficulties the child had with production of the sounds. Overall, he has been a great guy to work with—though we still struggle to get him to use his email!!

On Wednesday, we went into Military Hospital to see the 5-year-old boy we first met when we arrived in Cambodia. Mom travelled far from Kampot province to have his hearing checked at All Ears followed by a second therapy session with us. We were happy to see good results from his audiology appointment reporting normal hearing. We were concerned he may have hearing difficulties because in our last session he was having difficulty distinguishing sounds. These good results meant that we could continue on with therapy that day. This time around, he did much better receptively discriminating the difference in sounds so we could move on to working on his production of them! In this session, a big focus was to train mom up in the facilitation of both the listening and production activities of his target sounds. Mom was an excellent student and we all had a lot of fun watching the boy crash toy cars towards the sound he heard when getting it correct. By the end of the session, mom felt confident enough to use the advice and skills she had learned in order to apply them independently to work with her son at home and said she wouldn’t need to come for another session. We were glad that she was happy with the tools we gave her to help her son at home as it was difficult for her to make the trip out to Phnom Penh so often.

Lauren and I with mom and the 5-year-old boy we have been working with at Military Hospital.
Lauren and I with mom and the 5-year-old boy we have been working with at Military Hospital.

The Friday clinic at National Pediatric Hospital was quite a whirlwind this past week! We saw many more children with language difficulties and had a few extra people in the room than usual. Alin, who is a doctor but has worked as a speech adviser with our project in past years, had returned from her 3-month SLT course in Taiwan and was back at the clinic seeing patients that day as well as Dr. Vanna, our speech adviser Chanthy, and Lauren and I. So needless to say, it was a full house with lots of kiddies running around. Our supervisors from City University who oversee the project came near the end of clinic and we all had a chance to properly meet Alin and discuss her experience in Taiwan. She was very enthusiastic about the wealth of information she had gained in the 3 months and expressed interest in being a fully certified SLT in Cambodia—Very exciting considering the role of SLT is virtually non-existent out here! Chanthy also expressed how much she has loved learning about SLT and how she would very much like to carry-on working as a speech adviser when we leave—so we have two very keen people who will hopefully build on their SLT skills together and continue providing services after we go!

Our supervisors gave us some great tips as to how Lauren and I should continue training Chanthy and Alin and what our next steps should be in promoting the development of SLT. They also attended our training later that day at One-to-One. We were happy to see that everyone from last week was back to learn more and even more pleased to see a few new faces. For last week’s training, we taught about feeding in CLP and syndromes associated with CLP. Training is a brand new experience for Lauren and I, and it was a bit intimidating but also encouraging to have a supervisor there who had taught us in uni lectures and was now watching us teach!

Well a new week has begun and we are looking forward to what’s to come. Hoping to have more exciting news to report next week!

Learn more about past adventures from the City Cambodia team and more about cleft lip and palate on the Cleft Lip and Palate Association’s (CLAPA) web site!

Your Cleft team,

Kristin and Lauren

Welcome to SLP Overseas

Welcome to SLP Overseas, a site dedicated to linking the world of speech, language, and swallowing therapy.

As a current international Master’s student in the field, I aim to bring awareness to prospective and current students as well as professionals on the opportunities available in the field on a global scale.

This site will allow students to discover Bachelor’s and Master’s programs around the world that will provide them with an opportunity to learn from international educators and build a network overseas. Additional opportunities available to students also include overseas clinical placements and volunteer work which will allow students to develop their skills alongside professionals in developing countries.

The site also provides information on how to work abroad as a professional. Both paid positions and volunteer opportunities are provided for qualified clinicians to take advantage of around the world in both developed and developing countries.

As an American studying in the UK, I have had the unique opportunity to learn from professionals with different views and approaches to intervention. This has allowed me to open my  mind to the different possibilities within the field and has encouraged my desire to expand my career within the international community. The experience has also helped me to realize the need to bring awareness of the field to areas of the world that would benefit greatly from speech, language, and swallowing services, but do not have the knowledge nor the means to implement intervention.

I hope that this site will encourage individuals to take the time to understand the importance of international speech and language therapy. I hope it will encourage students and professionals from around the world to learn from each other and work together to improve the effectiveness of therapy and the quality of our client’s lives on a global scale.

This site is far from finished but it is the beginning of something positive and it is full of potential. Check back regularly as I plan to post new pages focused on international conferences, research in developing countries, stories from inspirational students and professionals, and much more! I also plan to keep up to date on blog posts featuring my experience as an international Master’s student and the undertaking of my Master’s research project soon to commence this winter!

To learn more about me and my academic and professional pursuits, read My Story. Please contact me with any questions, feedback, or information you would like displayed on my site.

Speechie Love,

Kristin AmRhein
MSc Speech and Language Therapy
City University London