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In praise of Vietnamese speech therapists

Chloe Jitts – is a 4th Year Student from Newcastle University who spent time in Vietnam. Below are her impressions of the speech pathologists working in Vietnam.

Whilst in Ho Chi Minh City myself, 3 fellow students and our supervisor Dr Sally Hewat spent time at varying hospitals. These included Children’s Hospital Number 1, An Binh Hospital, ENT Hospital and the Orthopedic Rehabilitation Hospital. Myself and my peers were astounded by the sheer commitment that the Vietnamese speech pathologists demonstrated to their patients and their work place. Whilst at Children’s Hospital Number 1 I was privileged to work with two wonderful speech pathologists, and I thought I might paint a picture for you.

Their day starts early and finishes late. During this day they will provide assessments and intervention to children of all ages with varying diagnosis. Not only do the clinicians have to work alongside these children, but they have to build from the ground up in educating the parents. Firstly on what is speech pathology and then what they can do for your child. Only once this information is conveyed can they build rapport and establish an understanding with the client and their family that a holistic approach is required, which includes home practice commitment.

Not only do these speech pathologists see out patients, but in patients also. During the day we visited the in-patient feeding clinic where babies with cleft lip and palates were brought for a feeding assessment and intervention. Mothers would come with hearts and minds ready, to learn why their baby is not feeding properly and what they can do to ensure best chance of survival. During this time the speech pathologist did not only display assurance of knowledge, but a gentleness and grace in client-centered practice and an understanding that these mothers needed further support.

What blew my mind was that there are no standardised Vietnamese assessments, there is no normative data and there are no resources in Vietnamese. These speech pathologists do not only have to commit their time, mind-set and heart to every client that walks through their door, but also to the fundamentals of building resources, assessments and therapy plans according to what best available evidence they have.

It is evident that these speech pathologists are talented, committed, hard working and brave. They are pioneers of a young profession in a majority world country and for that, I am honored to have worked alongside them. My hope is that they continue to receive support from volunteer speech pathologists, and that the people of Vietnam will begin to recognise that these individuals are help to assist their family members to access a basic human right – to communicate.

Chloe Jitts – 4th Year Student, Speech Pathology, The University of Newcastle.

#SPlifegoals #SPinVN





Our database contains the locations of over 33 speech therapists and clinics located in Vietnam.

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