Peer Lauritsen

The Oticon Foundation, Copenhagen, Denmark, has  awarded a $50,000 grant to the Global Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss to establish a teacher training program for teachers of deaf and hard-of-hearing infants and children in Vietnam.

The grant will enable the foundation, in collaboration with Vietnam’s Thuan An Center, to conduct the first workshop in its 3-year summer teacher training program.

“By supporting the work of the Global Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss, the Oticon Foundation will help to bring the training and support that educators, parents and other caregivers need to provide hearing impaired children with the opportunities they deserve,” says Peer Lauritsen, president of Oticon. “The teacher training program provides a model that has the potential to benefit educators not only in Vietnam but in developing countries around the world.”

The Global Foundation will bring 12 experts in audiology, speech therapy, early intervention, and auditory-verbal education to Vietnam in July 2010 to mentor 88 teachers about how to help children with hearing loss develop listening and spoken language skills. The teachers will travel from 34 schools and early intervention centers throughout Vietnam to Thuan An Center where the workshop will be held. The event also includes evening sessions to educate 25 families of children with hearing loss about how to help their children integrate successfully into hearing society.

The Vietnamese have an inclusive education policy and wish to integrate children with hearing loss into mainstream classrooms. Successful implementation of this policy requires expert teachers who can help young children identified with hearing loss and fitted with hearing technology develop listening and spoken language skills. The Vietnamese deaf education community recognizes a shortage of expertise in this area of deaf education and has requested training assistance from the foundation.

The 3-year initiative has been endorsed by several Vietnamese leaders in special education. Ho Chi Minh City University will offer certificates of completion to the Vietnamese teachers who complete the program. Since one teacher works with 10 children, this program will directly and positively impact the education of more than 850 children with hearing loss. As teachers share learning with others, the benefits will be exponential.

“The education offered by the our month-long seminars will help to bridge the gap in hearing care and expedite delivery of modern technology and educational strategies in developing countries,” says Paige Stringer, the foundation’s founder and executive director. “The vision of the Global Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss is to provide innovative mechanisms that will transfer knowledge from the United States to hearing health care providers in Vietnam and in other developing countries.”

Founded in 1957, the Oticon Foundation sponsors social and educational programs, publications, conferences, cultural activities and campaigns for researchers, hearing care professionals and the general public. It’s statutes mandate that income be used to support the needs of hearing-impaired individuals and organizations that serve people with hearing loss. Income is derived through the Foundation’s ownership of the majority of shares in the Oticon Co.

For information about Oticon Foundation grants, please contact Donald Schum, PhD/CCC-A at [email protected] or (800) 227-3921.

The Global Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss was established to help deaf and hard-of-hearing children in developing countries access the education and resources they need for life success. Stringer, who was born with a severe hearing loss, recognized that the ample resources and expert teachers that she benefitted from as a child are not widely available to deaf and hard-of-hearing children. She started the foundation to help those growing up with the disability in the developing world have access to at least some of the resources she was fortunate to have. In 2009, Stringer was honored with an Oticon Focus on People Award for her humanitarian work.

[Source: Oticon]