A short reflection

We spent our entire time today traveling (in fact, we can now say that we are time travelers because we actually traveled backwards to earn a few extra hours to our Friday!) During our long flight with Air Canada, we had time to reflect on our experience in China. We are grateful that we got to see so much in such a short span of time. If this trip has taught us anything, it is that we should appreciate what we have in our own country while also appreciating diversity. In reality, language is a universal human phenomenon, and it is important as speech language pathologists that we are willing to go beyond the borders to help bring about positive change. This change can be a simple exchange of ideas, or it can be collaboration to develop assessments and interventions that are culture-specific. Whatever it may be, speech-language pathologists are needed all around the world and often play important roles in multidisciplinary teams. We’d like to wrap up by saying “Goodbye” to China and to all the wonderful people that we had the opportunity to meet. We hope to see you again someday!

Getting Ready to Say Zàijiàn (goodbye) to China

Today was our last full day in China (sad)! After checking out at the Nanjing Normal University guest house, we traveled to Sir Run Run Hospital, Nanjing Medical University Hospital. There we met Dr. Lin Feng and were given a tour of the facility. The facility is just three years old and has state of the art equipment and technology in a multilevel rehab unit. The unit even employs teletherapy to deliver therapy to remote communities in China. We learned a little about Dr. Fang’s research involving listening to the sounds of the glottis in relation to swallowing, and pragmatics, and learned about a database for aphasia. We were also surprised to learn that they use the same pragmatics rating scale, The Modified Communication Performance Scale (MCPS), as us! The university recently started a speech-language pathology rehabilitation program. Each class has 20 students, about a third of ours at GW. Students apply for a general rehabilitation program and are then placed in ST, OT, or PT by the teaching staff depending on the students’ displayed strengths. This is different from our application process in The United States where we apply for specific programs and wait to hear if we are admitted. After the presentations and a tour, Dr. Feng graciously provided us with lunch. We concluded our last hospital visit and made our way back to Shanghai via another fast train! We had one last family dinner altogether and finished it off with a sweet ending to Dairy Queen.

Bye Nanjing Normal! Thank you for the lovely stay!
Sir Run Run Hospital Entrance.
The Mandarin Chinese version of the MCPS.
Interested students
A proud partnership

Day 12! Nanjing Cont.

Greetings from Nanjing! 

Today we are heading to Nanjing Normal Special Education University. The campus is very green and beautiful! Our interpreter Lucy helped make introductions between our faculty at GWU and the Dean and Secretary of the Special Education college. This college is the one of the only schools in all of China with a bachelors in rehabilitation and special education where students receive training in PT, OT, and speech. Similarly to the US, the first two years at the university will have more generalized classes and then students begin to specialize during the third and fourth year. By the third year the student may choose to specialize in speech related courses and in the fourth year there will be an internship out in the field for 10 months. Similar set up to our program at GWU with our Clinical Fellowship Year!

Lucy introducing us to the dean and secretary of the school!

Next, the president of the student association for speech at the university presented about the organization. This association convenes to advocate for the students in the Chinese speech community by working to popularize speech therapy and improve quality of care for patients. Students juggle a full course load while actively voluntary or interning at various speech and hearing centers in the community. Some students may move onto the graduate level in speech which would ensure a higher salary and these students may be more involved in research.

Touring the school!

Similarly to the US, the job opportunity in the hospital setting for the speech therapists in China is a very in-demand field. In fact just from this university alone nearly 90% of teachers in China working with Autistic children graduate from this school.  It was a great experience to round out the timeline and career for speech therapists in China!

Fun with virtual reality in the OT training lab!

After a morning of presentations and touring the campus, we gathered in the school’s cafeteria to have lunch with some of the students. While chatting with them, we learned about life as a college student in China. Differences between the college experience in the U.S. and China became apparent throughout the presentations in the morning, particularly with regards to how people choose their majors and the programs of study in general. However, when chatting with the students, we discovered many similarities as well, especially with regards to student/campus life such dormitory living and student participation in clubs, associations, and sports. 

Learning about the student Speech Association at NNSEU!

After fully digesting our Chinese college campus experience, we piled back into the bus  and headed to the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum. Located on the side of the Zhongshan Mountain (aka “purple mountain” as its peak is said to be enveloped in purple or golden clouds at dawn and dusk), the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum is the burial place of the leader of the Chinese Nationalist Party, Sun Yat-sen. Also known as “the father of modern China,” he played an influential role in ending the rule of the final dynasty in China, the Qing (or Manchu) Dynasty. A pioneer of modern governance, Sun Yat-sen served as the first provisional president of the Republic of China from 1911-1912 and later as the de facto ruler from 1923 until his death in 1925.

The group before we went up to the top of the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum.
View from the top!

Climbing up and down the 300+ steps of the memorial had all of us working up an appetite, so we headed off to dinner back at the hotel before exploring the Confucius Temple later in the evening. Lined with touristy shops, the Confucius Temple area was one of our last chances to purchase some tchotchkes for our friends and families before heading back home- an enjoyable way to wrap up our time in Nanjing! 

Shopping by the Confucius Temple!

Day 11…and 1/2

We’ve been working so hard here in Nanjing we forgot to update our blog!

Just kidding. Due to some technical difficulties we weren’t able to update from yesterday’s adventures, but the website is finally back up! Here is Day 11:

This morning started bright and early with a visit to the Nanjing Brain Hospital. Our tour began with a trip to the Neurosurgery Center, where a neurosurgeon described what technologies China is utilizing in addressing neurological communication disorders. We discussed the processes of ROSA and DBS in addressing neurological over- or understimulation. The doctor took us to see some of his patients who had recently undergone surgery. This neurosurgery department in this hospital will see 20-30 people per day on an outpatient basis, and around 70 inpatient per month. Then, we had the chance to listen to a speech-language pathologist discuss diagnostic methods and therapeutic intervention used for people with Parkinson’s and Aphasia. We were surprised by some of their similarities between treatment for aphasia at this hospital and in the US; verbal and visual reinforcement of speech stimuli is utilized in both treatment methods to promote calibration of language and motor functions. 

A presentation about TMS, and how they are studying its effects on Aphasia
Learning about TMS, or transcranial magnetic stimulation, which was being used here for sleep disturbances.
Visiting the neurosurgery unit
Observing a patient using VR for aphasia therapy!

We were shown the Children’s Medical Health Center, where we had the chance to speak with the center’s director and observe treatment in group and individual sessions. According to the director of the facility, nearly 100 children with autism are seen in their center every day. We noticed a pronounced emphasis on caretaker involvement in the therapy itself; parent and caretaker training was taking place in almost every session we peered into! They told us that they provide 25 hours of training every month for parents. Treatment at this facility is so in demand that families sometimes even come from far distances and rent apartments short-term in Nanjing so that they can bring their children there. The hospital’s main focus is diagnosis, and we were told that 6,000-7,000 children are diagnosed at the center every year. After our Chinese classes from the previous nights, we were even able to follow along as parents counted with their children. 

The pediatric Speech therapy room.
When visiting the pediatric wing, you sit in pediatric chairs!
Dr. Mahshie, being a good sport with the tiny chairs.

The rest of the day was ours to enjoy! Somehow, a lot of us ended up in the same place, each tasting delicious Korean BBQ at a local restaurant  (some of us went more than once…). We hit the streets to explore the city, making our way from the beautiful Nanjing Normal University campus to the tree-lined sidewalks of the more metropolitan areas of the city. A few of us caught the shopping bug again and visited the “best mall in Nanjing” and then ventured on the Nanjing metro to visit Laomendong (meaning ‘old east gate’), which is a ‘historical culture block’ with traditional Chinese architecture and shops.

The Nanjing Mall!

We cannot believe how quickly our trip is wrapping up! See you tomorrow for our last full day in Nanjing! 🙂

Day 10: Full Swing in Nanjing

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!

one-on-one therapy for a child with CIs; taken and posted with permission from the parent
sound proof ceiling
Chinese Class: here we are learning the different zodiac animals

Day 9: Welcome to Nanjing!

Today we departed Shanghai and took the fast train to Nanjing where we were welcomed by some of our partners from Nanjing Normal University. Unlike the previous two cities, we are staying at a guesthouse on the Nanjing Normal University campus– true student immersion! After settling into our rooms, we visited a Buddhist temple where they were celebrating the birthday of a deity. This temple was resurrected many times with the most recent resurrection happening after WWII in 1950. We learned that many people refer to this temple as “The Temple of Love” because of its supposed abilities to bring people love. After visiting the temple, we walked to the city wall which was constructed 600 years ago. Each brick is inscribed with the name of its maker to ensure the quality of each individual brick. We strolled the parameter of Xuanwu Lake and saw how locals spend their Sunday afternoons. Many were dancing, eating ice cream, picnicking, and leisurely walking. 

From there, like true Washingtonians, we took the metro back to the university. The metro system in China is extremely user friendly, high-tech, efficient, and not to mention– CHEAP!  Once we returned to campus we had our first of two mandarin lessons taught by Miss Lieu. We learned the basic structure of the language (subject, verb, object) and how to count to 1000! Wow. We’re basically fluent. 

Tomorrow we’ll be visiting the Jiangsu Rehabilitation Center and have the opportunity to speak with current SLP students at Nanjing Normal. Check back in tomorrow! 

On the way to Nanjing!
Entrance to Nanjing Normal University
“Temple of Love”
Xuanwu Lake
Nanjing metro ride, hold on tight!
Mandarin lesson with Miss Lieu

Day 8 ~ Free Day

We had an entire day to ourselves to explore Shanghai. Many of us went to Nanjing Road and Yuyuan Guarden to expereince some old fashion architecture and the joys of whole sale shopping. Others took a ferry to view the Magical Walkway and ended the day watching the sun set. Some even spent the entire day exploring magic of Disneyland! While we all experienced different things today, everyone agreed there was no better way to end our stay in Shanghai. See you in Nanjing!