UNC Speech and Hearing Assists with Professional Growth in Guatemala

The First National Congress of the Guatemalan Institute of Language and Communication was held on May 24, 2013, in San Felipe, Guatemala.

UNC Speech and Hearing  Assists with Professional Growth in Guatemala click to enlarge SHS Assistant Professor Lisa Domby at the First National Congress of the Guatemalan Institute of Language and Communication.

Organized by Lic. Letty Lopez, a Guatemalan speech therapist and Director of Brillo de Sol, a school for children with language learning difficulties, the conference represented an important step forward in professional development for speech-language clinicians in Guatemala.

Lopez has been working with UNC Speech and Hearing Sciences Assistant Professor Lisa Domby, MS, CCC-SLP, and Jessica Witt, MS, CCC-SLP, Assistant Director of Let’s Be Ready, a preschool program in Guatemala, for several years on strategies to develop a recognized profession or career path for speech-language clinicians, something the country currently lacks.

Forming a professional organization and providing continuing education offerings were primary goals that were met this year.  Another goal, advancing the degree program from a “tecnica” to a “licenciatura” (Lic.) was also met in April 2013.

The conference was attended by 35 Guatemalan speech therapists, teachers, and psychologists.  In addition to Lopez, Domby, and Witt, Barbara Conboy, PhD, CCC-SLP, Associate Professor at University of Redlands, presented at the event.

During Domby’s annual trip to Guatemala with graduate student clinicians in May, UNC students met with students from the Universidad Rafael Landivar to share information on topics that are not covered in their training program, such as autism, augmentative communication, and intervention for adult language disorders.  The new licenciatura program at Universidad Rafael Landivar will begin in January, and Domby is looking forward to continued collaboration with this program.