I have just completed a three-week placement at the Rachawadee Centre for boys with disabilities in Thailand. I have thoroughly enjoyed working at the centre and am happy I chose to take part in an international placement. Negotiating the language barrier with the help of translators, working with staff at the centre and immersing myself in the new surroundings was a rewarding journey. Talking with the carers and translators each day provided invaluable insight into client goals and priorities.
This placement also consolidated my learning around the importance of client and family centred therapy. At the request of the centre we worked as a team to create two educational handouts about mealtimes and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). These were translated and given to the carers in the centre. It was sad to end therapy but I hope that the recommendations, handouts and posters we left behind will continue to be used across both classroom and home environments at Rachwadee.
Looking back on my first week of placement I was nervous before my sessions and documentation and planning took a long time. During the last week I was feeling more comfortable and competent with both the sessions and the documentation. I could manage running a session (using some Thai language) while recording results online and having fun as well!
We also got the opportunity to go to a Thai military base and go horse riding with some of the students from the centre. The students absolutely loved it and it was a delight to see them so happy. The language barrier was challenging at times but I believe it made me more aware of my gestures and body language…. When in doubt there were a lot of high fives! On our weekends we explored chang mai and Bangkok. The absolute highlight was walking with elephants on an Elephant Freedom Walk, which we booked through the Elephant Nature Park group.
Kate Neville, Bachelor of Speech Pathology student, participated in the Speech Pathology placement in Thailand in September 2017
- See Kate’s first blog post here