Program in Bolivia | Teachers College Columbia University

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Communication Sciences & Disorders

In the Department of Biobehavioral Sciences

Program In Bolivia

Program In Bolivia

Since 2006, Dr. Crowley has brought a group of TC CSD master’s students to La Paz, Bolivia. They have worked in various settings including schools for students with intellectual disabilities and autism, a pediatric hospital, and a school for the Deaf. In addition, students who do not have native or near-native Spanish skills go to La Paz a week early to study Spanish at Instituto Exclusivo in groups of 2 or 3 based on proficiency. The group stays at El Rey Palace Hotel in La Paz. 

Since 2012, the TC team focuses their clinical work on Effecta, the school for the Deaf  where they have worked since 2006. The director of the school Paola Mariana Pastor Imana and the 5 teachers are excellent and committed to inclusion for the students. As a result the Effecta students go to a general education school in the afternoons with their Effecta teachers providing the signed interpreting. Those teachers can see what the students are missing academically and work with them in the morning sessions at Effecta.

A Bolivian version of American Sign Language is the first language of the Effecta students. (ASL was brought to the school by American missionaries.) The TC team works to develop their bilingual skills in oral/aural Spanish. Since 2008 the TC team includes Dr. Melissa Inniss, CCC-SLP/A who brings new hearing aids and provides custom molds for any student who does not have at least one good hearing aid. The TC team provides aural habilitation to the students and collaborates with the parents and teachers on how to develop Spanish language skills. In addition, since 2008 we have regularly offered teletherapy from TC’s on campus clinic in NYC to the Effecta in La Paz in real time.

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