The Speech-Language Institute (SLI) has partnered with Therapy Abroad and The Inspiration Center (TIC), a non-governmental organization in Belize City that provides various therapy and health services to children with disabilities and their families, to provide much needed speech-language pathology (SLP) services to the families of the country of Belize. Robert Serriani at computer monitor
 
TIC provides rehabilitation services both in their clinical facility and in the community to children from birth to 16 years old, which includes their families. Belize only has one or two SLPs in the entire country, so there is a great need for partnerships to support the ongoing needs of the community.
 
“Telepractice services allow for real-time consistent care from our clinic here in Elkins Park to the families of Belize with the help of a specially trained, in-country therapy aide,” said Robert Serianni, MS, CCC-SLP, FNAP, SLP chair and program director.
 
The Belize aide will support the child and family in their own home while the SLP students, under the supervision of clinical educators, will coach the families and aide to address a variety of communication needs, from articulation and language disorders, stuttering, feeding and swallowing management. SLI will begin to assess and treat individuals taken from a long waiting list, reporting those families who are without financial support to seek these much-needed services.SLP student
 
“This program supports our desire to provide students with a global view of care, providing speech-language pathology services with cultural competence and humility,” stated Serianni.
 
Clinical educators Robert Serianni, Patricia Mayro, MA, CCC-SLP, and Ken Newton, MS, CCC-SLP were required to complete a rigorous credentialing process through Belize's Ministry of Education. And, students Grace Granahan, Sarah Hann, Lauren McLaughlin, Kaci Swift and Rebekah Zimmerman were competitively selected by TIC following an application process which included resumes and essays. The team began orientation the first week of March with the first clients scheduled in mid-March.