June 20, 2024

In Country Volunteer Blog: The more international connections we make, the richer speech pathology will become.

In Country Volunteer Blog: The more international connections we make, the richer speech pathology will become.

Meet Ms. Gemma Scott, our fantastic in country volunteer clinical supervisor making a difference in Da Nang, Vietnam in May 2024. In her words, Gemma shares her experiences and what motivated her to volunteer with Trinh Foundation Australia.

My role included the provision of feedback for students’ assessment/intervention plans and their direct work with families. It was a paediatric caseload involving Speech Sound Disorders, Developmental Language Disorder and children presenting with neurodivergent characteristics. I also led a presentation for the staff at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Da Nang on neurodiversity and behaviour, and provided a question-and-answer session for the students at the end of their placement.

The people of Vietnam are so kind and welcoming. The community I met are very hard workers with strict schedules, but time with others is prioritised and organised with great clarity. There is a spirit of adventure and I love how socialising usually includes activities.

My biggest takeaway is that the more international connections we make within our profession, the richer speech pathology will become. For example, a country with less formal assessment resources has students’ trained more skilfully in informal observations which is an equally important tool to use in all assessments. This ability to adapt and change a session quickly to tease out areas within a child’s naturalistic communication is a skill I see decreasing in Australia due to the over-use of formal assessment batteries.

I am also so impressed by the professional yet personal culture between the staff and students. This created an environment where students were comfortable to ask many insightful questions, and appeared less anxious in sessions. The culture difference of physical touch in Vietnam was also a big takeaway. Neurodivergent children were certainly benefitting from increased sensory input during sessions so they could feel their bodies in space.

Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to continue the neurodiversity conversation. I am inspired by your approach in combining traditional and western interventions to support children. I hope we can continue to treat families more holistically within teams all over the world.


Images supplied from the paediatric speech and language placement that Gemma Scott has completed in Da Nang.