We arrived at the Hearing Assessment Centre of the hospital after maneuvering through the typical traffic (since most Ghanaians wake up between the hours of 4am and 5am, everyone had already been up for hours). There we met Albert Osie Bagyina, who had also made the 4-hour journey from Accra to Kumasi, as he does every week to see patients. Albert proudly introduced all 14 of us to most of the staff, as is customary in Ghana when arriving somewhere new.
Before breaking into smaller groups, we assessed our first patients as one collaborative group. The 4-year old twins, who entered the therapy room with their father and brother, began exploring and interacting with several students immediately. A detailed parent interview revealed that the twins were born 2 months premature, weighing 3.5 lbs. at birth, and suffered from moderate to severe hearing losses, one worse than the other. In addition to lacking auditory stimuli, the twins appeared to have visual problems as well, limiting their sensory input to primarily touch. Although our group was large, we continued to work together to engage and assess both girls individually through the use of bubbles and singing, building off the knowledge and clinical judgment gained over the past week. With the concept of sustainability in mind, we were able to provide techniques and recommendations for the father to continue to implement at home. Specifically, we stressed the importance of increased language input to support the girls' sensory difficulties, including the use of eye contact, exaggerated facial expressions, gestures and sounds, modeling simple language consistently, the use of music and singing, and following up with vision and hearing testing, primarily regarding the use hearing aids. After the twins' thankful father expressed his deep gratitude as he wished for our safe return to the U.S. later that week, we reflected on how the girls' development demonstrated the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to therapy.
|One student models a gesture for a nonverbal child|
|Students gather background information about the child|
|Students assess the child, interview the parent & write recommendations|