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Bolivia Bound 2012

by Catherine Crowley
dancers in Bolivia


For the seventh year, graduating speech-language pathology students from Teachers College Columbia University (TC) are in La Paz, Bolivia providing free speech and language services to children and adults with communication disorders. This year they are working in Camino, a school for the deaf, and CEREFE, a school for students with developmental disabilities. Follow the group as they witness children fitted with hearing aids hearing their mothers’ voices for the first time and as they lead a conference on AAC for special education teachers. Led by Dr. Cate Crowley with Dr. Sylvia Walters, Dr. Melissa Inniss, and Ms. Tanya Sanchez, the group meets at night for seminar discussions on developing develop sustainable practices in Bolivia and the student and supervisor’s own cultural competence which will inform their clinical practice when they return.

Here is the link to the 2012 blog so you can follow our travels.


Catherine (Cate) Crowley, J.D., Ph.D., CCC-SLP, is a distinguished senior lecturer in the program of SLP at Teachers College Columbia University where she coordinates the bilingual/multicultural program focus and directs the Bilingual Extension Institute. In addition to the Ghana trip, Cate has led TC students to Bolivia for six years. Cate is a member of ASHA’s SIG 17 Global Issues in Communication Disorders.

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Pam June 12, 2012 - 12:42 pm

LOL – I read through some of your posts on my lunch (in my very warm room) and couldn’t help but notice you all wearing jackets no matter where you were! Do they not have heat in Bolivia? Is it only needed for a short time?

Cate Crowley June 13, 2012 - 10:06 pm

It is about 32 degrees in the early morning (2 to 5 am), but by midday it can be as warm as 60 or 65 degrees. So you wear layers. Our hotel has heat, but most places, and most hotels do not. This is winter down there. Summer is the rainy season, so it can actually be cooler in the winter especially during the cloudy weather. But it is one of the most beautiful places in the world!

Bolivia Bound 2012 | Speech Language Pathology | Scoop.it June 13, 2012 - 9:29 am

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Brooke June 14, 2012 - 11:35 am

How FABULOUS to read what you have been up to this year in Bolivia! I am so happy to know that CAMINO was a significant part of the experience. I was so touched to learn about all the progress of the students and seeing photos of them working with this year’s TC crew was wonderful. I worked with Valentina last year, when she was barely vocalizing and I was just teaching her to respond to her name. So it is GREAT that she is vocalizing spontaneously all over the playground and with other children. What a life-changing, incredible experience for all!

Christine June 14, 2012 - 4:34 pm

Valentina REALLY loooooooves vocalizing now!!! Thanks to the hard work from Dr. Sylvia Walters and Valentina’s own mom… Our therapy sessions went really well! I can’t wait to share with you more about Valentina when I see you! Her mom and I talked about you and what a GREAT JOB you did with her last year as well!!!! =D

Lindsay Milgram June 14, 2012 - 12:01 pm

This international work is inspiring. The relationships that you have built by returning each year once again provide students with rich and unique experiences. I look forward to hearing more and maybe one day joining you all for a first hand experience.

Leat Corinne Ruben June 14, 2012 - 12:02 pm

This is such a wonderful cultural and clinical experience. I feel honored to have graduated from a program that values knowledge and awareness.
TC Graduate SLPs, you are doing wonderful things and making a difference! Keep it up!
Cate, you are an INSPIRATION and a role model.

Christine June 14, 2012 - 4:30 pm

I learned so much on this trip, thanks to all 3 of the great supervisors, and also a lot about culture and politics of Bolivia thanks to Cate! I especially loved that this year we worked so much with the parents to create sustainability!!! It made me SLIGHTLY less sad to leave Valentina because I know her mom is going to work hard with her so this won’t be the end of her progress!!! Everything I learned in Bolivia is definitely going to make me a better clinician… it’s definitely an UNFORGETTABLE experience!!!

Keturah Perkins-Trembley June 15, 2012 - 12:51 pm

I received my graduate degree in speech language pathology from Teachers College, Columbia University and I am so proud of the multicultural and bilingual programs that Dr.Cate Crowley has developed and expanded at TC. Graduate students travel overseas each year to provide services and education to families and educators in Ghana and Bolivia. The Bilingual Extension Institute at Teachers College, Columbia Univesity Face Book page is a must have resource for any educator working with the bilingual and multicultural populations.

Alisha Gandhi June 16, 2012 - 1:41 pm

I have so enjoyed reading about the great experiences you all are having, and the impact you’re making on the lives of these children! I feel so honored to have been a part of this program last year, and everything I gained through my Bolivian experience has shaped me as a clinician. I cannot wait to hear all of your stories in person!

Kiera June 19, 2012 - 9:25 pm

This trip was such an incredible experience! I learned so much and felt so lucky to meet the incredible people involved, both those at Camino as well as the supervisors from Columbia Teachers College. This program is really changing the world, and changing individuals lives. I cannot wait to see what continues to be done here.

Carolina Portuondo June 22, 2012 - 8:19 pm

The blog looks great! Keep up the good work. I went to Bolivia last summer and it was one the the most moving and influential experiences I have ever had. The trip enriched my personal and professional life and was an eye opener in so many ways. Enjoy it and embrace the Bolivian culture as much as you can!

Dave Cunning July 7, 2012 - 12:38 pm

Nice to see you guys doing this awesome work – making these children little bit happier! And I’m sure this trip will be a great experience for students in their future jobs.

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