Continuing on in Mexico, EARTHSPEAK opened another site in the state of Guanajuato in May 2012. The site works through a partnership with Patronato Pro Niños (a charitable medical and dental organization based in San Miguel de Allende), the state Desarrollo Integral de La Familia (DIF), and Hospital General of San Miguel. The goal of the program is to train professionals and parents in the care of children with cleft palate.
The first Earthspeak program in Mexico began in 2012 through a joint effort with Rotary International in the state of Oaxaca. This program successfully trained local professionals to provide speech and related services to children with surgically corrected cleft palate. That program, now over 2 years old, continues under the able care of Rotary in Oaxaca and Desarrollo Integral de La Familia (DIF), a national and state organization that deals with issues affecting the health, education, and welfare of children and families, and the Hospital Oaqueña de la Niñez.
Among the 11 professionals attending the week-long training in San Miguel was Ma. Eugenia Mendez Garcia, who is with the Instituto Guanajuatense para Personas con Discapacidad (InGuDis). Eugenia reported that at the outset she had doubted that parents could become effective speech delivery agents for their children. However, after the training session, she had no further doubts and had found the Earthspeak training to be one of the most professional, scientific, and well organized she had ever attended. She now wants to create this program for the entire state of Guanajuato and beyond. By the end of the first trip Eugenia had already reported her experience to the governor's wife, the titular head of Guanajuato DIF, and everyone was eager to learn more.
In October Eugenia hosted a meeting of Earthspeak-trained professionals, partners from Patronato Por Niños, and Guanajuato DIF leaders to present the progress of children in the program. All but one of the cases presented showed steady, positive progress for children overcoming cleft palate speech. One case of an 18-year-old young man with profound, aided hearing loss was also presented. The young man, unsuccessful in gaining usable speech despite many years of therapy, had been sent to DIF to learn sign language. Corrective Babbling was tried, and within 6 weeks of starting the mentor-delivered therapy he began speaking in understandable and acceptable phrases and short sentences. His past therapist wrote her amazement. DIF is now requesting that Earthspeak train all 16 of their therapists throughout the state.
When Earthspeak returned in November, Eugenia presented her efforts to document the efficacy of the San Miguel training and work of Earthspeak.
Challenging our work in Guanajuato is good surgical management. The solution to the problem proved it is a small world indeed. Two times a year a surgical group, Nuevo Almancer, which is headed by Dr. Abel de Peña, joins forces with plastic surgeons from Stanford University under the leadership of Dr. Ernie Kaplan, colleague and friend of the late Dr. Richard Jobe, co-founder of Earthspeak.
Earthspeak is grateful to DIF and to our organizational partners Maria and Juan Aguilar from Patronato for all they do to make this program a success.