The Benefits of SchoolLinks

28/03/2014

The visit by two audiologists and one technician from Jonghelinckshof (JH) in Belgium to King George VI (KGVI) in Zimbabwe will always be an important piece of history in the twinning of the two schools. 

The school link 2013 Story 

This second visit was initiated by a visit by two speech therapists Ingrid and Kristine who had visited KG6 in 2012. They were touched by the plight of the many children who were deaf who were knocking at KG6 doors for assistance in testing but could not be accommodated as the testing equipment there was out-dated and the staff not well skilled to use it. The visitors decided to go and try source funds to revamp the audiology unit and source for audiometers to enable KG6 to test more children with hearing challenges. They also looked for experts to provide technical assistance to KGVI.

The process

2013 saw two audiologists and a technician from Jongelinkshof coming to KGVI in Zimbabwe to install audiology equipment, train members of staff of KG6 and the Special Education Department of the United College Education (UCE) on the use of the equipment and the assessment of deaf children, as well as share experiences of operations.

The audiology equipment was installed. VVOB Zimbabwe assisted in making the audiology room sound proof. Six members of staff from KGVI and two members from the provincial school psychological services and eight lecturers from UCE were trained Theoretical Audiometry. The audiologists gave power point presentations, hand-outs and conducted hands-on-sessions.

The six members of staff from KGVI who were staff developed on testing children were divided into teams. One team to concentrate on testing babies, the other one on children and the last team focused on how to test adults.

Appreciation

The audiologists showed a great deal of knowledge in their area and they strived to give as much as they could within the short space of time that they were in Zimbabwe. They all had the facts at the tip of their fingers, were well prepared and had all the required learning aids for the training. The team worked hard and on most of the days went beyond working hours to ensure that they completed their tasks on time. They produced training DVDs to assist the teachers in remembering what they taught them.

Remarkable outcomes

As a result of the hard work the two parties subjected themselves to within the limited time they had, things have changed for the better. The numbers of days when children are tested have increased from two days to four days a week. The KGVI staff members are now able to test babies with the use of the reward system and more children from referral centres like Mpilo Rehabilitation, Bulawayo City Council clinics and surrounding Rural Clinics in Matebeleland North and Matebeleland South now come for assessment at the school.

In addition that, KGVI staff members now have moments where they staff develop UCE Lecturers on practical assessment (testing of children with hearing challenges). Moreover, UCE student teachers who come to KG6 for attachment now benefit more from their mentors. KGVI School also conducted a workshop on the multidisciplinary approach to help stakeholders understand the value of different stakeholders such as the parents, speech therapist psychologists, nurses, doctors and audiologists working together in the management of children who are deaf.

 

Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone……so...a “big thank you” to all who made this project come through including those who worked behind the scenes you made a big difference in somebody’s life in Zimbabwe.

  
A testing session in progress
Eric installing and testing the equipment
Nhele one of the audiologists from Belgium giving a theoretical training to KG6staff, UCE (SPED)staff and UCE (SPED-HI) students