Today we got to choose what we wanted to do for the morning at Korle Bu. Some of our group headed to the Children’s Ward where we played, read, colored, and just tried to have fun with the children who had bandages on different parts of their bodies due to burns and other complications. A 3-year old child named Janice was coloring a picture with her bandaged hand and identified each color of crayon she used. We noticed that she produced /s/ as /θ/ so we had an opportunity to work on her articulation. We practiced producing /s/ by telling her to “trap the snake in the cage,” meaning keep her tongue behind her teeth to produce the sound. The patient from yesterday’s cleft palate operation was also there. She seemed to be doing well; she had an IV but her parents were giving her water orally, which was a good sign that she was recovering well.
The other half of the group went to the Hearing Assessment Center. There we met with Jemimah who gave us a tour of the center, and Elder and Sister Ribeiro, an Audiologist and his wife from the Church of Latter Day Saints in Utah, who have helped to strengthen the Audiology program at Korle Bu Hospital.We learned about the equipment used to test hearing in both adults and children. She explained Auditory Brainstem Response Testing, which measures the hearing nerves’ response to sounds after an individual refers on a hearing screening. They had a hearing screening scheduled that we were going to observe, but they had to postpone it because of the torrential rain and the noise it causes hitting the roof of the center.
The group that had gone to the Children’s Ward joined us at the Hearing Assessment Center in time to observe a client getting fitted for his first hearing aid. He was a 72 year old retired driver who had a moderate to severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss in the left ear and a severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss in his right ear. Due to the cost of the hearing aid, he could only afford one, which was placed on his left ear. The audiologist provided the patient and his caregiver, his sister, with directions on how to use and care for the hearing aid.
After leaving the hospital, we traveled to Dansoman ‘S’ Unit School for Special Needs Children where we met Regina the head teacher of the special needs class at the school. We met and played with the children before watching them perform their daily routines, poems, songs and dance. It was touching to see the bond that the children shared with each other especially after they provided an appropriate response to their name. We then had a professional development session with the general education and special education teachers. We taught them how to use the same tools that we used at Belinda’s school, the calendar, visual math display, and the big book. The teachers also taught us interactive songs which they use in their classroom with their students. It was fun learning the songs and they seemed engaging for the children.
We learned later that Kwesi, a journalist we had met at the Austism Awareness Care and Training Center, had gotten our group a segment on Ghanaian TV for the next morning. It was to be an opportunity for us to get our message of inclusion in education out there and to help show more people in Ghana than just those we were personally meeting that children with special needs, specifically Austism Spectrum Disorder, just need another way to communicate and need our patience. What an exciting opportunity for TC SLPs and our field!