We arrived safely in Quito, Ecuador yesterday and spent the afternoon exploring artisan markets and “la mitad del mundo.” We were excited to arrive in Ecuador to share the knowledge we gained in Neiva, Colombia with speech pathologists from Ecuador and Peru.
Our Smile Train mission began this morning with the arrival of professionals from various backgrounds including speech language pathology, psychology, pediatrics and education. Each Columbia University student paired up with a clinician taking the course, entitled “Proyecto Tutorial del Habla de Paladar Hendido.” Dr. Cate Crowley and our three supervisors, Diana Acevedo, Jessica Baquero, and Theresa Donohue, spent the first class discussing the anatomy and physiology of cleft lip and palate as well as the ways in which certain sounds are affected by cleft palate. We also worked in pairs to apply learned therapeutic strategies. It was interesting to share prior knowledge and clinical experience with one another and learn about speech pathology in Ecuador.
After our first class, we made our way to El Hospital del Niños de la Mano de Maria to put our acquired techniques to use. In groups of two Teachers College clinicians and two Latin American professionals, we began therapy with the clients and their families. Today’s goals included evaluating the clients’ speech, teaching the families strategies to work on at home, and developing a plan for the days of therapy to come. In addition, students of the Cleft Palate Speech Tutorial were able to use information and tactics from today’s course with the help of Teachers College students and our supervisors.
We look forward to the week of collaboration ahead of us!
Pamela y Johanna