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CSD Students Use Their Skills in Ethiopia This Month

by Catherine Crowley
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The CSD program at Teachers College Columbia University is in Ethiopia this month visiting schools for students with autism and a center for adults with intellectual disabilities. The TC Team—nine master’s students and three ASHA-certified SLPs: Lisa Edmonds, Jayne Miranda and I—used our experiences in Ghana and Bolivia to prepare for the trip.

At a vocational center for adults with intellectual disabilities the TC Team created “Seller’s Market Cards,” so the adults can independently sell their products. These low-tech Augmentative and Alternative Communication cards, laminated with packing tape, introduce the seller and list products for sale with their prices. We worked with the sellers to create the cards and then immediately tried them out at an impromptu market at the center!

At the Nehemiah Autism School, 20 teachers and our team spent the day collaborating to identify ways to bring more communication opportunities into an otherwise excellent school. We made 70 flash cards for weather, a large calendar, practiced social stories, and talked about ways to introduce literacy and math.

Right now, we’re presenting a five-day cleft palate speech institute at Yekatit 12 Hospital. Smile Train and Transforming Faces supported 14 cleft palate team professionals who attended from East and West Africa.

Please follow our adventures on the blog.  We love to see comments and are just halfway through our trip.


Catherine J. Crowley, CCC-SLP, JD, PhD, Distinguished Senior Lecturer in speech-language pathology at Teachers College Columbia University, founded and directs the bilingual/multicultural program focus, the Bilingual Extension Institute, and the Bolivia and Ghana programs. An experienced attorney, Crowley is working with NYCDOE on a multi-year project to improve the accuracy of disability evaluations. 

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Meg Murphy January 13, 2015 - 4:58 pm

So proud of you all! Keep up the amazing work! I’m sharing the blog on the Admissions Tumblr today! 🙂

Angela Giraldo January 14, 2015 - 2:31 am

Great job everyone!! We are all very proud of you 🙂

Peter Vitale January 14, 2015 - 4:15 pm

Congratulations on the significant contributions the TC Team is making in Ethiopia!

Tina Park January 14, 2015 - 4:23 pm

It’s so great that you can share your experiences with the schools in Ethiopia. I love reading all your blog updates! Great work!

Elana January 14, 2015 - 4:42 pm

Wow! This is amazing work you guys are doing! I love the wide variety of things going on during this trip, it’s not just one area being focused on. Kudos for the AAC cards, I’m sure they are going to be life changing for all of those involved.

Angie January 14, 2015 - 4:53 pm

This sounds like an amazing experience! You guys are doing great work 🙂 Safe travels!

Álvaro Mendoza Heinig January 14, 2015 - 5:10 pm

Love the immediate use of the market cards.

amyericksonslp January 14, 2015 - 6:15 pm

What an amazing experience and opportunity to make a huge impact in so many people’s lives! So proud of TC, Columbia students and the vision of the SLP program! Safe travels to all!

Maha Helali January 14, 2015 - 6:27 pm

Come to the ADVANCE Society in Egypt! 🙂

Angelica Penagos January 14, 2015 - 8:28 pm

Amazing work! It is very inspiring to see current and future SLPs be catalysts for change in people’s lives around the world.

Candace January 14, 2015 - 9:51 pm

It has been such a privilege to follow this awesome group of intelligent, thoughtful, and caring people through their journey and experiences in Ethiopia! This work is nothing short of amazing. Congratulations and safe travels home!

Crystal W. January 15, 2015 - 3:25 am

Sounds like everyone involved is having a valuable experience! So great to read about all positive work that’s been happening! Great job y’all!

Isik Ozge Ozturk January 15, 2015 - 9:12 am

Two amazing weeks in Ethiopia! It has been a true privilege for me to meet and work with all of the wonderful people from Ethiopia and from other African countries!

Jeri Blum January 15, 2015 - 10:21 am

I have been following your blogs and it is ground-breaking tremendous work that you are doing. The TC students are very lucky to have been able to experience this under the leadership of Dr. Crowley. Keep up the amazing work that is so much needed in this world.

Elizabeth Ijalba January 15, 2015 - 7:46 pm

I do hope all of these wonderful experiences will one day be available to us in a book–one that incorporates the meeting of cultures, from New York City to Ghana, Bolivia, and many other parts of the world. These experiences not only transform these dedicated TC students and faculty, but also make a difference to the people they meet. This is good work– the kind that brings us closer together and makes for a better world.

Fran C January 15, 2015 - 7:47 pm

Congrats on your blog and sharing your work and experience. Looking forward to reading more.

CLEMENT NTIM January 16, 2015 - 12:43 am

I am a beneficiary of the good work being done by the TC Team in Africa as a special needs teacher in Ghana and I can testify the huge impact their annual visits had on us in Ghana in the area of SLP especially AAC. Thank you all for the wonderful education you have provided us over the years. Cate and your team I wish you well in your program in Ethiopia. Clement Ntim (Ghana).

Belinda Bukari January 17, 2015 - 12:28 pm

Am so happy to read about The Seller’s Market Cards.It really works with our students in Ghana and I know it will work for the Adults Vocational students. The idea behind creating the market cards is great and I believe people all over the world will embrace it. Congratulations Cate and everyone of you on board.

EFL teaching January 18, 2015 - 1:34 am

EFL teaching

CSD Students Use Their Skills in Ethiopia This Month

Lorna Muthamia January 21, 2015 - 6:03 am

You guys rock ! Thanks heaps for sharing your enthusiasm and knowledge. The brain drain that took place in Ethiopia those few days. Phew!

tcethiopia2015 January 23, 2015 - 3:56 pm

It is truly incredible and inspiring how much we can do as SLPs around the world!

Miriam January 23, 2015 - 4:18 pm

Sounds like another amazing trip- an exchange of ideas and learning experience for all those involved. Can’t wait to hear more about it in person!

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