Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss

Seattle, Washington USA

www.childrenwithhearingloss.org

Summary

The Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss is collaborating with Centro Terapeutico de Audicion y Lenguaje (CEAL) in Guatemala, Rotary Este Guatemala, the Guatemala deaf education community, and Healing the Children to implement a multi-year Guatemala Deaf Education Program.  This Program will prepare teachers in Guatemala with essential skills to help children fit with hearing aids or cochlear implants communicate and learn through listening and spoken language.  The Guatemala Deaf Education Program comprises Summer Training Workshops in Xela, Guatemala where the Guatemalan participants will travel from their communities to attend.  During the year, we conduct Mobile Outreach where teams of Global Foundation professionals build the teachers' skills from the Summer Trainings in their home classrooms and with their own students. We also fit hearing aids on children from low-income families that cannot afford them.  Fifty teachers working at six schools will participate at the onset with additional teachers enrolling in subsequent years as the first group progresses through the curriculum. The Guatemala Deaf Education Program is a five-year initiative estimated to benefit approximately 2,000 children at a cost of $36.80 per child over the time period.  The Global Foundation is pursuing a Washington State Rotary District 5030 matching grant and a Rotary International Global Grant for this project.  We welcome the involvement of other clubs within Rotary International to support children with hearing loss and their families in Guatemala, Vietnam, and other countries around the world. With appropriate funding, this project will launch in Guatemala in November, 2013.

Detailed Description

Issue:  All children develop their language capacity in the first six years of life.  Since a child must hear sound to learn spoken language, it is essential that children with hearing loss are identified during this early developmental window and fit with appropriate hearing technology. These children must also have expert teachers in deaf education and professionals in speech and hearing sciences who can help them interpret sounds they are hearing for the first time and develop oral communication skills. Advancements in hearing technology with digital hearing aids and cochlear implants have made it possible for more children with hearing loss to access the sound they need to develop spoken language. With early identification, hearing technology, and early intervention support from professionals, many children with hearing loss can learn to listen and talk.

About the Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss:  The Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss (http://www.childrenwithhearingloss.org/) is an international nonprofit organization. It aims to make a direct and lasting impact on deaf and hard of hearing children around the world by providing them with access to the educational resources, hearing technology, and support services they need to achieve their full potential in hearing society. The Global Foundation achieves its charitable purpose through sustainable programs that: 

  • offer training and professional development
  • help establish health and education support for deaf/hard of hearing children and their families
  • promote awareness of pediatric hearing loss, its implications, and how it can be addressed
  • provide access to audiology services and hearing aids
  • support research efforts to advance practices in deaf education and hearing health care

Paige Stringer is the Founder and Executive Director of the Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss.  Born with a severe to profound hearing loss, Paige benefitted from early identification and intervention. She was mainstreamed in kindergarten after receiving therapy and audiology support during her earliest years. Paige holds a Maters Degree and has had a successful business career.  She started the Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss in 2009 to help hearing-impaired children in developing countries have the same opportunities for success in life that she was fortunate to have. Paige is a member of the Queen Anne Rotary in Seattle, Washington.

The Global Foundation has assembled an exceptional team of advisors, professionals, and board of directors. Please visit our website at http://www.childrenwithhearingloss.org/ to read their credentials.

Global Foundation's History in Vietnam: The Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss has been conducting a Deaf Education Program in Vietnam since 2010.  The cornerstone of its work is a curriculum that encompasses audiology, speech pathology, early intervention, and deaf education and touches the key people in the network of support for children with hearing loss. We work with the same group of Vietnamese participants over time to build on their knowledge. They share learning with others, making our work exponential and sustainable. Our program also includes hearing aid distribution to children in need as part of our audiology training.

Between July 2010 and January 2013, the organization has successfully trained over 220 teachers, 270 families, and 125 medical and other professionals who work with or have children with hearing loss at 38 schools and 2 hospitals across 20 provinces in South Vietnam. We have fit 259 hearing aids on young children. We will continue to nurture our relationships across education and health care and work with our in-country partners to deliver quality, successful programs through our Vietnam Deaf Education Program. 

Guatemala Deaf Education Program:  The Guatemala deaf education community recognizes a need for training to prepare teachers in Guatemala to help children fit with hearing aids make use of those hearing aids and learn to listen and talk. The community is also looking for guidance on how to develop early intervention programs to support earlier identification of hearing loss in children.  The Global Foundation has been invited to replicate its successful and proven model of training in Vietnam to Guatemala to fill this need. 

The Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss is collaborating with Centro Terapeutico de Audicion y Lenguaje (CEAL) in Guatemala, Rotary Este Guatemala, the Guatemala deaf education community, and Healing the Children to implement a multi-year Guatemala Deaf Education Program.  This Program will prepare teachers in Guatemala with essential skills to help children fit with hearing aids or cochlear implants communicate and learn through listening and spoken language.  The Guatemala Deaf Education Program comprises Summer Training Workshops in Xela, Guatemala where the Guatemalan participants will travel from their communities to attend.  During the year, we conduct Mobile Outreach where teams of Global Foundation professionals build the teachers' skills from the Summer Trainings in their home classrooms and with their own students. We also fit hearing aids on children from low-income families that cannot afford them. 

The Guatemala Deaf Education Program curriculum is developed by a team of Global Foundation professionals who are recognized leaders in the fields of speech pathology, audiology, early intervention, and deaf education.  They will work together during the year in collaboration with the Guatemalans to develop the program and then travel to Guatemala to teach the material.  The Global Foundation professionals volunteer their time and are not paid to do this work.  In exchange, the Global Foundation strives to cover the costs of their participation in the training programs in Guatemala, including international airfare, lodging, food, and transportation. With appropriate funding, we plan to launch this program in November, 2013.

Sustainability: The Global Foundation's Guatemala Deaf Education Program employs a Train the Trainer approach.  With each passing year, the same teachers advance through the multi-year curriculum and new teachers are then enrolled. Those further along in the program are called on to support the training of the new arrivals.  Additionally we include families with hearing impaired children in the program so they can learn to help their children develop listening and speaking skills. The first year of the program will focus on training 50 teachers working at six schools in the Xela region of Guatemala and will benefit 400 children with hearing loss and their families at the onset.  The number of beneficiaries in teachers, families, and children will increase exponentially over the next four years. The Guatemala Deaf Education Program is a five-year initiative estimated to benefit approximately 2,000 children at a cost of $36.80 per child over the time period.  The effort will reach sustainability as the participants in our program share and apply their knowledge with other professionals and families in their communities and in other parts of Guatemala. 

Project Impact on Beneficiaries:  The effects of hearing loss on a young child are much greater than just the ability to listen and hear.  Hearing loss impacts cognitive, social, and academic development, and can limit future employment and education opportunities.

Three key elements pay out dividends in human potential.  First is identification of hearing loss early in a child's life as to allow more time to overcome developmental delays during the critical window of language and learning that occur in the first years of a child's life.  Secondly, the child must be provided with hearing aids or cochlear implants to access sound.  Unfortunately, one cannot put hearing aids on a child and expect he or she will immediately know how to listen and talk. The child needs the support of trained professionals who can help overcome developmental delays and help the child learn to process sounds he is now hearing to foster their spoken language abilities. When all three elements are in place, children with hearing loss can learn to learn to listen and talk. They can enter neighborhood schools alongside hearing peers. They can enjoy broader employment opportunities in their hearing communities. They can participate fully in our hearing world.  Beyond improvement in quality of life, the savings in disability support is important in developing countries where resources are scarce and there is great diversity and demand for humanitarian needs.

How Rotary Can Support - The Global Foundation is seeking the financial support from clubs within Rotary International for this project over the five-year term.  The Global Foundation will advertise the support of involved Rotaries in its marketing efforts and in its relationships with other past and new supporters. There are also opportunities for Rotary members to participate as volunteers supporting the in-country operations of the Deaf Education Program in Guatemala.

To learn more, please contact Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss Executive Director Paige Stringer at paige@childrenwithhearingloss.org or visit http://www.childrenwithhearingloss.org/.