Smile Train recently held a workshop on speech therapy for nurses and social workers who work at Smile Train partner hospitals in the Philippines. The fifteen participants are all from remote regions of the country where there are no trained speech therapists available to provide specialized cleft care. The goal of this workshop was to empower these paraprofessionals and help meet the needs of isolated patients who are unable to speak properly due to their clefts.
To be eligible for the speech therapy workshop, the participants studied online training materials and were required to pass an exam organized by Smile Train’s strategic speech partner, Dr. Cate Crowley of Columbia University’s Teachers College.
Dr. Crowley, along with four trained speech therapists from leading universities in the Philippines, trained the group using Teachers College curriculum, "Cleft Palate Speech and Feeding". The group worked with Dr. Crowley to become certified to lead future trainings of their own so that more paraprofessionals across the country could learn speech therapy techniques.
Smile Train’s Country Director of the Philippines Kimmy Coseteng-Flaviano shared, “Dr. Crowley’s speech workshop is a great example of the amplifying power of Smile Train’s “teach a man to fish” model. The speech training workshops are a great step to ensure that all of our cleft patients will have access to essential speech and comprehensive cleft care services.”