Our lovely ex-colleague Alexea came to visit me this week! She has been working in Vietnam for the past year and she is home for the summer holidays and a family wedding!
Alexea worked for Speech Link Multimedia Ltd as a speech and language therapist in Canterbury, Kent, before moving to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. She is now spending her working life whizzing around on a moped in 30 degree heat, dodging regular downpours which may last just minutes. She spends her evenings sampling Vietnamese food and experiencing the local culture with her partner, who works as a teacher at the British International School.
She was telling me all about her experiences as an independent speech and language therapist in Vietnam. Speech and language therapists are few and far between, however she has managed to meet up occasionally with other English speaking therapists for peer supervision. The clients she sees are complex, partly due to the nature of the cases (stammering, selective mutism and speech disorder are examples) and partly because of the addition of another language. She is working in an area close to a British International School, where many of the pupils have two or more languages. During her assessment process, she must ascertain whether a child’s communication difficulty is present in just one or all of the languages they speak.
Referrals come from the local nurseries and schools, as well as through word of mouth. Alexea will assess children in their own home or at school, then follow this up with advice and recommendations. She may provide advice for the nursery or school setting, she may offer therapy sessions in the school or in the child’s home.
As speech and language therapy is an up and coming profession in Vietnam she does a lot of work around raising awareness to encourage parents to acknowledge such difficulties and seek professional support. It's challenging because there are very few to no support services such as Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Ear Nose & Throat specialists, etc.
I asked Alexea to sum up her experience of Vietnamese speech and language therapy in three words: ......”necessary, challenging, and of course sweltering!”
Sarah Wall, Speech & Language Therapist
Labels: abroad, international, language, school, speech, therapy, Vietnam