This specialized two-week program is available in Thailand and is intended for undergraduate or graduate students ages 18 and up who are interested in pursuing a career in speech-language pathology (speech therapy). This is an ideal program for students who want to take advantage of learning from American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) certified speech-language pathologists (SLPs) specializing in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) assessment and intervention. AAC is remarkable, yet often portrayed as an intimidating field of study because students, and even some professionals, may have limited to no experience with children with complex communication needs such as cerebral palsy.
Why: More than ever, SLP program selection committees are looking for well-rounded students who have a thorough understanding of their respective fields of interest and the ability to work collaboratively across cultures. Our Speech-Language Pathology & Augmentative/Alternative Communication (AAC) Program is designed for undergraduate, post-bacc, and graduate students who want to work with (and learn from) a distinguished group of professional SLPs in a cross-cultural setting.
We created this program specifically to help participants not only grow in the above areas, but also gain hands-on experience that’s hard to duplicate in the classroom: professional observation hours, one-on-one time with SLPs, PTs, and OTs and other professionals in formal and informal settings, direct experience in public and allied health, and a chance to support local children and families with special needs.
How: Your cohort will collaborate with government organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), private clinics, universities, and charitable organizations to bring services to children in Chiang Mai, Thailand. With an intentional focus on cooperative learning and capacity building for both visiting and hosting professionals (and other students from Thailand), professionals will take you through a cross-disciplinary, cross-sectoral and cross-cultural program that will change the way you develop within your respective field.
Students will also become familiar with international approaches to public health as well as innovative therapy practices that address local healthcare issues. Lastly, students will also have the opportunity to explore northern Thailand; participating in fun evening and weekend activities such as visiting an elephant sanctuary, hiking (or rock climbing) through the jungle, and learning about indigenous communities in the North of Thailand.
IMPORTANT NOTE: There are no prerequisites for this program, and students from any relevant department or major may apply. Spaces for this program are limited and fill up quickly. All applications will be individually evaluated on a rolling basis. Students on this program will primarily be working with children, so all applicants should be comfortable working with children and be creative and flexible to get the most out of their experience.
January 2 -January 16, 2021
June 26 – July 10
July 31 -August 14
The focus of this two-week program is to provide an opportunity for students to implement sustainable and culturally relevant AAC interventions that will significantly impact the functional communication of local school-age children with little to no functional speech. First, Therapy Abroad students will participate in a series of pre-departure AAC video lectures and readings as well as in-country AAC training/discussions designed to prepare them for the unique needs of the local population. Second, students will be mentored through the AAC evaluation and report-writing process. Third, students will have opportunities to purchase locally sourced materials to construct AAC systems that are sustainably designed and consider the needs of the local population. These systems will be implemented using the most current evidence-based practice considerations (Allen, Schlosser, Brock & Shane, 2017) and intervention protocols (e.g., Binger & Light, 2008) within a play-based AAC Summer Camp atmosphere. Specifically, students will help design a series of stations targeting both AAC skills (e.g., navigating to symbols) and language skills (e.g., syntax and literacy). Finally, students and professionals will develop and provide communication partner training to ensure sustainability of the AAC systems (e.g., system development) and generalization of communication skills (e.g., expressive syntax) targeted at camp.
In addition to working with SLPs, your group will interact with government organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), private clinics, and charitable organizations to bring services to children throughout the country. Students will also engage in interprofessional practice with allied health professionals such as physical therapists (PTs), occupational therapists (OTs), social workers (SWs), and medical doctors (MDs) in small groups. This interprofessional opportunity will allow us to learn about the AAC considerations for children with motoric and physical impairments from PTs and OTs. It will also allow students to provide training to allied health professionals with respect to AAC, speech & language disorders, behavior modification, and variables related to English as a second language.
Prerequisites for this program include a familiarity with AAC, either through an introductory course, training or clinical experience, and students from any department or major may apply. In lieu of or in addition to having one of the pre-requisites above, students may still participate but will be required to watch a video lecture series, “What is AAC, and How Do I Implement It?” In this condensed video lecture series, you will learn about the different symbols types available to SLPs and individuals with complex communication needs. Moreover, you will learn about the variety of ways that SLPs can organize those symbols within an AAC system such as a communication book or topic display. Finally, you will learn how to provide Aided AAC Modeling interventions to enhance your clients’ receptive/expressive language structure, literacy/narrative development, and social interaction skills. Some videos will also encourage you to practice these newly learned skills so that you are prepared for our AAC Adventure.
Spaces for this program are limited and fill up quickly. All applications will be individually evaluated on a rolling basis. The AAC program will primarily include children, and all applicants should possess skills that reflect creativity and flexibility for the best experience.
Most Therapy Abroad students chose to fly on one of our organized group flights and will be joined by at least one Therapy Abroad staff member to help you through international check-in and departure process. After checking into your rooms, students will have a home cooked dinner and then attend a short orientation and safety briefing.
Monday through Friday will consist of time spent at local clinics preparing and implementing our AAC camp. In the afternoons, students will have training and discussions as well as spend time in local markets and stores purchasing locally sourced materials to construct AAC systems. In the evenings students will be mentored through the AAC evaluation and report-writing process.
Over the weekends, the group will experience local activities with included trips to temples, cooking schools, visits to local markets, waterfalls, and other activities.
Our Baan is your Baan: your program will be based in Chiang Mai, Thailand – an amazing place filled with rich history, excellent food and the friendliest people on the planet. Laid out in a “hub-and-spoke” model, you will set-up home in boutique accommodations with communal areas to relax and hang out, meeting rooms for group discussions or presentations, and comfortable rooms for getting shut-eye. Most accommodations have western style amenities.
Every day you will have access to Wi-Fi, fresh drinking water, western style toilets and showers, and laundry services (laundry will be on site or nearby). Meals will be a combination of Thai and Western cuisine consisting of rice, curries, noodles, spicy salads, some fried foods along with fresh vegetables and exotic fruits. We have a 100% guarantee that you will have plenty of amazing food! We can cater to specific dietary needs as long as you let us know ahead of time. In addition to Thailand’s many scenic charms, the warmth and hospitality of the people and culture will make you feel at home (or at baan) in no time!
Make it yours: students with Therapy Abroad will find out that we pack a lot of activities into a two-week program, but we will also make sure you have downtime to relax, write in your journal, use the internet, talk to our staff or just explore on your own. Our Staff are a great source of advice and are here to help you make the most of your time abroad. If you have any questions about any opportunities not listed in our program, want to try some new food a friend has told you about or just explore something different, then let us know any time before or during your program and we will do our best to make it happen.
$3,950 USD not including international airfare. Group airfare from San Francisco or Los Angeles is estimated at $1,200. Therapy Abroad will organize group flights from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) or Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) as soon as airfares have been published.
We got you covered: Travel and study abroad is a big investment and our commitment to you is that we will work hard every day to make sure you are going to have the most amazing experience: professional staff, tasty meals and comfortable accommodations, and overall, a well-crafted itinerary full of diverse activities and good people. With the exception of international airfare, our trips are all-inclusive. We won’t try to upsell you on any “additional activities” or “additional optional activities” that aren’t advertised as part of the program. Your tuition covers: All activities. All materials. All meals. All housing. Everything. We want you to arrive and participate fully in the program and take advantage of each learning experience without ever thinking about how much money you are going to spend. More specifically, your program includes:
Group flight booking
Flights team support staff
Professional and licensed staff (practitioners and academics)
24-hour emergency support staff
Airport pick-up in Thailand
Shared, comfortable accommodations
Snacks and drinking water
Orientation and curriculum
All necessary equipment, materials and supplies
24-hour in-country support
All activities listed in the program itinerary
All domestic transport
Materials, tests and diagnostic tools
Therapy Abroad tee-shirts