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MY TOP RESOURCES

4. MY OLD UNI NOTES AND LECTURES As an afterthought I brought my old university notes with me, and I’m so glad I did, as they’ve been invaluable in planning lectures. Can you imagine trying to teach cognitive neuropsychological models of language processing with no notes? (Thank you, Tim Pring! www.city.ac.uk/lcs/biographys/tpring.html) The course is organised along Western lines, and although ‘therapy’ is a Western concept we try to tailor case examples, tutorials and classes to the local culture. However students find talking to the clients about prognosis and recovery very difficult, because of people’s very different attitudes to sickness in Bangladesh. Many Muslims see recovery, or lack of it, as down to Allah’s will alone. The students have also reported that to discuss prognoses may be seen as disrespectful. In spite of this it is interesting to see that similar challenges (implementing AAC, getting people to do their dysarthria exercises, people with a stammer desperate for a cure) exist, and also to see that people do benefit from therapy in such a completely different culture. 5. DONATED BOOKS AND JOURNALS We rely almost completely on donated books and journals and because of this many of the books available to the students are quite outdated. There is a real lack of up-to-date resources, particularly adult-based books. Some therapists have kindly donated some of their backdated journals, but we do not receive these regularly. Speech Pathology Australia delivers its quarterly publications free of charge to our library, as does Speech and Language Therapy in Practice. Thank you! www.speechpathologyaustralia.org.au www.speechmag.com 6. DONATED ASSESSMENTS We have been donated a number of assessments and therapy materials from British therapists. Most of the assessments are of course culturally inappropriate for Bangladesh where many people have not seen a burger, a bathtub or a carton of milk. The context can be explained to the students and the donated assessments serve as models for them to compile new culturally appropriate home-made assessment materials. These include: • Pictures of local food such as curry, rice, vegetables and fresh fish as many of the food pictures we received are not suitable, including sandwiches, salads and ice cream cones. • The simple toys that children in Bangladesh use for play, such as different sized boxes, and wheels, as many children just don’t know how to play with sophisticated toys. • Actions such as walking, drinking (not alcohol) and cycling, but not children skipping and playing tennis, or people eating with knives and forks. • People pictured in appropriate clothing. We have to be sensitive about what is regarded as a state of undress, including shorts, particularly on women. Although the majority of the people know how Westerners dress, it may be offensive to present this in assessment material, and children may be bamboozled. Interestingly, we have particular difficulty assessing swallowing, as it is hard to get hold of modified consistency foods and fluids. The thickest fluid we have come up with is mango juice, which is readily available. 7. RESOURCES IN BENGALI Speech and language therapy is an established profession in India. Bengali is spoken in Calcutta, close to the border with Bangladesh, and here we’ve managed to find some great resources, including the Picture Test of Receptive Language, a Bengali language assessment which is standardised on Bengali speaking children in India. • Kaul, S. & Bose, S. (2003) Picture Test of Receptive Language (Bengali), Calcutta, Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy, www.iicpindia.com/ • All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, www.mylibnet.org/aiish.html 8. BENGALI PHRASE BOOK Although English is Bangladesh’s second language, widely used in business and education, I’ve found it really helpful to be able to speak some Bengali. Any attempts are warmly received and I take a ‘total communication’ approach to my interactions! This usually breaks any ice and gives people a laugh at my expense (Bangladeshis have a great slapstick sense of humour). Speaking Bengali - albeit more like a curious form of ‘Benglish’ at times - has opened up all sorts of opportunities to me that I wouldn’t have experienced had I been unable to communicate with the local people. If you want to find out more, the book ‘Brick Lane’ by Monica Ali (Pub. Black Swan, 2004) about a Bangladeshi person in London is great, as are the following websites: www.banglapedia.org www.virtualbangladesh.com www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ bg.html www.bangladesh.com 9. APPROPRIATE CLOTHING As Bangladesh is predominantly an Islamic country, women are expected to dress modestly, and cover their bodies. I wear a salwar kameez, which was introduced in Bangladesh by the occupying Pakistanis before the War of Independence in 1971. It consists of a long tunic, trousers and an orna, which is a long, broad scarf worn to cover the chest. On special occasions, I wear a sari, which is so glamorous, but hard work to put on! www.shijucreation.com/wearingasari.htm 10. OTHER VOLUNTEERS The speech and language therapy course cannot operate without volunteer speech and language therapists coming out here to teach and share their experience and specialist skills with the students. It may be possible for the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed to assist any prospective longer-term volunteers to access funding. We are always looking for people who would be interested in visiting this beautiful and vibrant country, and who would be as proud as we are to take an active part in the creation of speech and language therapy as a profession in Bangladesh. If you would like to know more about volunteering, contact volunteers@crp-bangladesh.org or Cristy Gaskill at cristy@crp-bangladesh.org.

AT THE TIME OF WRITING AMY JENSEN WAS A VOLUNTEER SPEECH AND LANGUAGE THERAPIST WORKING AND TEACHING STUDENTS AT THE CENTRE FOR THE REHABILITATION OF THE PARALYSED, A CHARITABLE INSTITUTION IN SAVAR, DHAKA, BANGLADESH. THE COURSE IS A FOUR YEAR BSc HONS AFFILIATED TO UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON AND IN THE PROCESS OF AFFILIATION WITH DHAKA UNIVERSITY. AMY SAYS, “I HAVE THE PRIVILEGE OF TEACHING BANGLADESH’S FIRST EVER SPEECH AND LANGUAGE THERAPY STUDENTS, NOW IN THEIR SECOND YEAR. AS THERE ARE NO QUALIFIED LOCAL SPEECH AND LANGUAGE THERAPISTS, THE COURSE CURRENTLY RELIES ON VOLUNTEERS FROM ABROAD TO TEACH THE STUDENTS.”

1. MY STUDENTS The students, who helped me to compile this top ten, are my most important resources. As well as all the student responsibilities they have, they act as my interpreters during therapy sessions and even in matters unrelated to speech and language therapy. They are my advisers on the local customs and culture - for example they warned me to stop using the ‘thumbs up’ sign as it is offensive in Bangladesh. In addition to this they create culturally appropriate resources, using Western assessments and therapy materials as examples. These five men and seven women are the most committed students I have encountered, and passionate advocates for the profession. 2. THE CENTRE FOR THE REHABILITATION OF THE PARALYSED The Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed is a spinal injuries rehabilitation centre. This charitable institution set up the Bangladeshi Health Professions Institute where the teaching of speech and language therapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy takes place. The Centre is committed to developing speech and language therapy as a brand new profession in Bangladesh. It provides the clients for our students to observe and treat under supervision, and placements in its mother and child unit, its neurology outpatients department, and its school for children with special needs. www.crp-bangladesh.org 3. INTERNET Access to the internet is elusive because of frequent, prolonged power cuts and painfully slow connections, but it has proved essential to gather the information I need to plan lectures and tutorials. With one slow computer for all the students, their access to the net is even more limited than mine (female students are allowed four opportunities to leave campus per month and, unsurprisingly, choose not to spend that precious time in an internet shop). When I can, I use the internet to send begging letters to long suffering ex-colleagues for donations, and as a lifeline to family and friends.