Health workers benefit from Speech-Language Pathology Supervision training in US

Guyana’s health sector is now further boosted as four language therapists and audiologists received managerial and supervisory training from the United States.

The course titled, “Internship in Clinical Education: A Practicum in Speech-Language Pathology Supervision,” will help health workers to keenly assess children with either language or hearing disabilities.

They would be able to better evaluate autistic children and those with voice, feeding and swallowing problems.

It will help them to better observe these children and provide feedback.

The four Guyanese health workers who benefitted from the training

The four health workers who benefitted from the course are, Lenise Robinson and Sonia Fredericks from the Ptolemy Reid Rehabilitation Centre, Michelle Jackman from the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation’s (GPHC) Speech Department, and Kerianne Richards of the Linden Hospital Complex.

According to Fredericks, before the course, sessions with these children focused primarily on advising their parents on what texture of food to feed them and so forth.

She said however, since her return, she is now able to use the techniques and skills she learnt, to better advise on care for children with feeding and swallowing problems.

The health workers along with members of the San Jose State University

Additionally, she is also able to provide a better quality of therapy to the children.

Fredericks said with the training now completed, the Medical Rehabilitation- Bachelor of Sciences in Speech-Language Therapy and Audiology programme at the University of Guyana, will soon resume.

“Our programme has been on pause due to not having fully trained clinical supervisors, so with this training, we can now supervise our students from the University of Guyana,” the young woman explained.

Meanwhile, Robinson said that the training has helped them to utilise augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices, which they intend to implement in other clinics.

“We are planning to implement the use of these AAC devices in our clinic. Ms Richard and I met with a few of the AAC vendors in San José, and we decided to collaborate with them to receive some training on how we can use the device and also receive free software so that we can have the MoH purchase some iPads where we will download the AAC Software and begin using it in our clinics.”

The device will help healthcare workers to deal with autistic children, adults who suffer a dramatic brain injury, or stroke, or someone who has Parkinson’s disease, which requires non-verbal communication.

The training was done at San José State University in San José, California, for the practicum, and in Charleston, South Carolina, from April 13 to April 28.

It was sponsored by Digicel and was arranged by Dr Gloria Weddington, a Professor of Communicative Disorders & Sciences at San José State University.

It was geared at providing participants with a better understanding of clinical education in speech-language, as well as skills and techniques for working with autistic children, assessing voice quality, and assisting children with feeding issues in addition to supervising students or co-workers.