Many of the children who attend Kianh Foundation have been identified as having speech and language difficulties. Some cannot speak at all due to their disability. The teachers and therapists at Kianh Foundation have received training from Australian speech therapy trainers and University of Newcastle speech therapy students in how to provide individualised programmes and integrate speech therapy techniques into their teaching and therapy.
Currently the staff work with children individually on programmes such as Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), articulation programs and auditory verbal therapy. These are programs that are tailored to an individual child’s abilities and needs. Teachers use speech therapy techniques in the classroom to teach children how to say speech sounds and words, understand and use vocabulary and sentence structures. The therapists work with parents to train them in how to encourage their children to communicate more. For children who require support with feeding or have swallowing difficulties, safe feeding strategies are implemented as recommended by speech therapy trainers.
Most importantly, the staff understand and believe in giving children every opportunity to communicate – whether by speech, Key Word Sign or the use of symbols. Augmentative and Alternative Communication is used throughout the school to encourage children to communicate in whatever way they can. The staff and children at Kianh Foundation are working with the speech therapy trainer to create a Vietnamese speech generating system on an iPad, one of the first of it’s kind in Vietnam.