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Viva Peru! A Volunteer Trip to Peru Training Terapeutas de Lenguaje on AAC

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In Peru, terapias de lenguaje (language therapists) have limited training in AAC. In addition, they do not have requirements for continuing education to further their training. Many children are non-verbal secondary to developmental disabilities and acquired conditions which are minimally addressed due to decreased access to healthcare. This presentation focuses on a volunteer week-long training session provided by 2 speech-language pathologists from the United States and Puerto Rico to therapists in an orphanage in Lima. The orphanage consisted of 105 children and approximately 95% of them were non-verbal. This was a collaboration effort between an occupational therapist from the United States doing mission work in Peru, the volunteers, and the terapias de lenguaje, occupational therapists working in the orphanage. Training focused on low technology to high technology supports, evaluation of skills, treatment goals, utilization of AAC in social situations, advocating for the therapists, and caregiver education. The training resulted in therapists' report of increased understanding of maximizing the children's potential and the various communication supports available. There is an ongoing effort to provide follow-up via monthly tele-education video chats.


Tami Altschuler    
NYU Langone Medical Center
United States

Gloria Velez Barrios    
University of Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico

Lisa Alfonsi    
Camino de Vida


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