At Penn State, we are working to support improved outcomes for children with complex communication needs around the world – over 80% of all individuals with a disability live in developing countries. Our faculty and students are actively involved in projects to improve outcomes for children who are from developing countries and/or from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Examples of these projects include:
- A graduate student volunteering in an orphanage in Mexico, providing education and services, and developing materials, such as a Mexican Sign Language resource book for the teachers and children.
- A graduate student volunteering as a speech-language specialist in on orphanage in China, and developing training materials to teach professionals how to develop visual schedules and light tech materials for their children.
- A faculty member providing workshops to an organization in Mexico, and graduate students developing culturally appropriate materials for teachers in the organization to adapt books and engage children in book reading activities.
- Graduate students developing guidelines for making light tech materials for professionals in Sri Lanka, and constructing a light tech communication book for adolescent twins in Sri Lanka.
- A faculty member presenting at the 8th Eastern and Central European Regional Augmentative and Alternative Communication Conference, and then hosting two Speech-Language Pathologists from Poland to visit and lecture at Penn State.
- Graduate students developing instructional materials about students with disabilities and different modes of communication for teachers in a school in the Washington DC area with a large population of Hispanic students.
- Graduate students creating social stories and visual supports for three students with autism spectrum disorders to be able to access public transportation in urban Philadelphia.
Some of these projects have been supported by the Hintz Children’s Communicative Competence Endowment through Funding for Innovative Projects to Enhance the Penn State Global AAC Initiative to Improve Outcomes for Children with Complex Communication Needs who are Underserved.