Today we visited Jiangsu Speech and Hearing Rehabilitation Center in Nainjing. At this facility, there are 2 departments that serve 2 populations: children with cochlear implants (CIs) and ASD. The institution was founded by the government and is also funded by the government. The facility also hires their own staff. This school serves children 1-5 years old. This facility is set up like a school, and operates between the hours of 8:30 am and 4:20 pm. There are 85 children with CI and 51 children with ASD who attend the school. Parents are required to attend with their children during the week. If they can’t make it, a grandparent has to come-someone has to be there. The parents get 1 day of the week off. For kids with CIs, the staff implements auditory verbal therapy (AVT), which is a specialized type of therapy that is used to teach a child to use their hearing provided by a hearing aid or CIs to understand speech and to learn to talk. In doing so, the child can learn to develop hearing as an active sense so that listening becomes automatic. Some sessions can be done privately outside of the classroom set up for 30 minutes. The facility has 7 trained AVT therapists and is currently training other staff members.
We toured the facility and got to observe some classes in session. Children are grouped according to age and severity. One classroom had children with bimodal CIs. An interesting fact about this classroom is that the ceiling is sound proof to help emphasize sounds for the children to learn them better. A tech and audiologist comes regularly to check the equipment. Devices are checked at the beginning of each semester and every morning and afternoon (after nap time). At the beginning of each semester, the child receives a hearing test. Every Thursday, a class is held for parents. They are trained on what to do once they find out their child has hearing loss as well as what to do when they go home. The children in the ASD group are also grouped by age and ability. They also provide training classes for parents. Some children with ID are also in the ASD group.
After lunch, we had a forum with students from Nanjing Normal University. It started out with Dr. Gu and Dr. Mahshie each talking about research within their respective departments. We heard a little bit about the research projects by the PhD students. Sarah Hine then presented about the Pragmatics group held at our clinic. Then, we split up into 4 groups with a mix of GW students and Nanjing Normal University students to ask each other questions about programs and daily life. It gave us a chance to interact and learn more about each other’s perspective cultures and education. The students from Nanjing Normal University then gave us a brief tour of the campus.
Later that evening, we had our last Chinese class. Ms. Liu taught us how to say dates, animals, time, and more about sentence structure. This last class was very interactive and very helpful. We ended the day with a big group dinner, all seated at one table. We’ll be up for more early adventures tomorrow!
Check out our pictures from today!