Research Projects

 

Project: Speech, Language and Hearing Resources for Sub-Saharan Africa

The successful signing of a MOU in 2018 between the University of Pretoria and Leibniz University  Hannover(LUH) in Germany, facilitated by Prof Juan Bornman and Prof Ulrike Lüdtke paved the way for this exciting collaborative project.

 

This 4-year PAGEL project (2020 – 2023), funded by DAAD (“Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst”/ German Academic Exchange Service) brings five universities together :

  • University of Pretoria,  in South Africa,
  • Leibniz University Hannover  (LUH) in Germany
  • Kenyatta University in Kenya
  • Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) in Tanzania
  • Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) in Tanzania.

 

The broad aim of this project is to develop a digital teaching and learning platform (SpeechBase) for sharing information, raising awareness and training different target groups for the African continent. This will be achieved by developing a sustainable professional network between the participating universities with a culture-specific digitization strategy focussed on the acquisition and sharing of culturally-sensitive evidence-based knowledge of speech-language therapy practice.

 

In this project attention is given to four specific subject areas  with members from all five universities working in tandem:

  • Research: Two specific research projects are foregrounded  namely Hear Africa! and TALC (Tool for Analyzing Language and Communication).
  • Training: Advanced training for all participants in digital teaching as well as specific training opportunities by subject experts
  • Curriculum Development and Teaching: Module content will be developed for three content areas (AAC, Hearing Impairment and neurological Disorders), and be digitized and included on the SpeechBase platform
  • Information technology: Setting up and maintaining the SpeechBase platform (with both desktop and mobile applications) with literature and material created in the project

 

Each team consists of five members  (2 staff members and 3 students) as per the DAAD project design:

  • Focal person: Prof Juan Bornman (Professor : Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication)
  • Staff: Prof Jeannie van der Linde (Professor and Head of Department Speech Language Pathology and Audiology)
  • Media manager: Ms Petria Liebenberg  (Department of Speech- Language Pathology and Audiology and Masters student)
  • Master’s student: Mrs Bathobile Ngcobo (Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication)
  • PhD student: Ms Lesego Dikobe  (Department of Speech- Language Pathology and Audiology )

 

 

Empowering Speech-Language Therapist in Africa: Leadership for Advocacy 

Speech, Language and Hearing Resources for Sub-Saharan Africa

 

The successful signing of a MOU in 2018 between the University of Pretoria and Leibniz University  Hannover(LUH) in Germany, facilitated by Prof Juan Bornman and Prof Ulrike Lüdtke paved the way for this exciting collaborative project.

This 4-year PAGEL project (2020 – 2023), funded by DAAD (“Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst”/ German Academic Exchange Service) brings five universities together :

  • University of Pretoria,  in South Africa,
  • Leibniz University Hannover  (LUH) in Germany
  • Kenyatta University in Kenya
  • Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) in Tanzania
  • Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) in Tanzania.

The broad aim of this project is to develop a digital teaching and learning platform (SpeechBase) for sharing information, raising awareness and training different target groups for the African continent. This will be achieved by developing a sustainable professional network between the participating universities with a culture-specific digitization strategy focussed on the acquisition and sharing of culturally-sensitive evidence-based knowledge of speech-language therapy practice.

In this project attention is given to four specific subject areas  with members from all five universities working in tandem:

  • Research: Two specific research projects are foregrounded  namely Hear Africa! and TALC (Tool for Analyzing Language and Communication).
  • Training: Advanced training for all participants in digital teaching as well as specific training opportunities by subject experts
  • Curriculum Development and Teaching: Module content will be developed for three content areas (AAC, Hearing Impairment and neurological Disorders), and be digitized and included on the SpeechBase platform
  • Information technology: Setting up and maintaining the SpeechBase platform (with both desktop and mobile applications) with literature and material created in the project

Each team consists of five members  (2 staff members and 3 students) as per the DAAD project design:

  • Focal person: Prof Juan Bornman (Professor : Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication)
  • Staff: Prof Jeannie van der Linde (Professor and Head of Department Speech Language Pathology and Audiology)
  • Media manager: Ms Petria Liebenberg  (Department of Speech- Language Pathology and Audiology and Masters student)
  • Master’s student: Mrs Bathobile Ngcobo (Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication)
  • PhD student: Ms Lesego Dikobe  (Department of Speech- Language Pathology and Audiology )

 

Shared Decision-Making in a Multicultural Society: Supporting Children with Cancer with Symptom Management (PI: Dr E Johnson) (2019-2021)

This project is funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF), Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT) as well as the South African Swedish University Forum (SASUF). This study is done in partnership with CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation South Africa and the Swedish Childhood Foundation.

The main aim of the project is to enable all children with cancer and/or with communicative disabilities to communicate their symptoms, to fulfil person-centred care using a child perspective, to promote children to cope with cancer, health and well-being. To achieve this aim, the mHealth tool, PicPecc was developed with the input from various stakeholders. For the South African context, the PicPecc tool was translated into isiZulu, Sesotho, Sepedi, Setswana, Tshivenda, Tsonga and Afrikaans.

 

Currently feasible studies are in progress with children (aged 8;00 to 17;11) who are first language speakers in the eight languages (including English) to determine children’s opinion about the PicPecc tool. Since access to the intended population is a challenge due to Covid, we are recruiting South African children with and without cancer in these languages. A survey on Internet availability for these participants will also be done. The validation of the thermometer scale used in the PicPecc app will be done in Sweden.

 

Publications derived from this study are:

 

  1. Nilsson, S., Wiljén, A., Bergquist, J., Chaplin, J., Höök, A., Johnson, E., Karlsson, K., Lindroth, T., Schwarz, A., Stenmarker, M., Thunberg, G., Fridh, E., Wille, J., Esplana, L., Haglind. M., & Öhlén, J. (in print). Evaluating pictorial support in person-centred for children (PicPecc) – A protocol for a crossover design study. BMJ Openhttps://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-042726
  2. Mahakwe, G., Johnson, E., Karlsson, K, Nilsson, S. (2021) A systematic review of self-report instruments for the measurement of anxiety in hospitalized children with cancer. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041911
  3. Karlsson, K., Johnson E., & Nilsson, S. (2021). The Children´s Action-Reaction Assessment Tool (CARAT) as an observational tool for assessing symptom management: An initial validation study with children aged 3-7 years undergoing needle procedures. Applied Nursing Research. https://doi.org/10.1111/jspn.12334
  4. Thunberg, G. Johnson, E., Bornman, J., Öhlén, J., & Nilsson, S. (accepted) Being heard – moving from professional-centred to person-centred paediatric care using augmentative and alternative communication as universal design: A position-paper. Nursing Inquiry
  5. Johnson, E. (2021). Supporting communication vulnerable children to communicate their pain. (Book chapter) Doi: 10.5772/intechopen.93588 In V. Y. Waisundara (Ed) Pain Management. Intech Open ISBN 978-1-83880-897-6

 

Youth Accountability for Deaf inclusion in South Africa (YADISA)

The YADISA project, lead by the University of Leeds (Prof P Cooke) and including the University of Pretoria ( Prof Shakila Dada), Hope and Homes for Children, DeafKidz International and the Bishop Simeon Trust. The project aims to develop and implement a youth leadership program which will provide vulnerable youth and youth who are Deaf with the skills and opportunities to participate in decisions regarding their lives and futures. In addition, the program aims to provide youth with the mechanisms they require to hold the structures and institutions which should be looking after them accountable for the care their receive. The project will be implemented by the Bishop Simeon Trust, DeafSA and One Home One Child (the South African arm of Hope and homes for children) in Ekhuruleni, Gauteng. Ultimately this project aims to provide evidence of how youth can guide and improve their own futures and those of their communities through meaningful engagement with government in order to maintain accountability for their rights

 

Optimising collaborations and reducing inequalities of Early Childhood Intervention in post-Covid-19 South Africa (2021-2023)

The main aim of this project is to generate a set of evidence-based strategies for multi-agency work in early childhood intervention in South Africa, post-Covid-19. The project is a two year collaboration between the University of Roehampton and the University of Pretoria (UP). It is funded by the British Academy: Tackling Global Challenges 2020 scheme. The project team consists of Dr Susana Castro-Kemp as principle investigator (School of Education, University of Roehampton), Prof Shakila Dada, Dr Alecia Samuels and Dr Adele May (Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication, UP), and Dr Fatima Cassim (School of the Arts: Information Design, UP). The goal of this project is to produce a variety of multimedia resources for collaborative practice, using digital animation as a channel for dissemination. Ultimately, the project will contribute towards optimising effectiveness of collaboration between professionals working with young children (0-6 years) in South Africa, by considering specific challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

 Empowering Speech-Language Therapist in Africa: Leadership for Advocacy

 

Prof Brenda Louw from the Department Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) in the US and Prof Juan Bornman, from Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication at the University of Pretoria (UP) recently scored a hattrick!  They became part of a small group of Carnegie African Diaspora Alumni  who were  awarded with this fellowship for a third time to support a project in Africa. This  ETSU-UP project is one of  56 projects globally that pairs African Diaspora scholars at higher education institutions in the US with peers in Africa to work together. The program was incepted in 2013 and is designed to strengthen capacity at the host institutions, and develop long-term, mutually-beneficial collaborations between universities in Africa and the United States and Canada.

The global COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a recalibration of their project ”Empowering Speech-Language Pathologists in Africa: Leadership for Advocacy” to become virtual. Although leadership is an inherent quality and characteristic of the speech-language therapy profession, formal training for the development of a skills set and abilities is lacking. Speech-language therapists are uniquely positioned to advocate at a policy and practice level for the importance of strengthening communication skills, which is a basic human right. It is imperative that advocacy is approached on two levels: to promote the self-advocacy of the clients with disabilities with whom therapists work; and to advocate for the agency and rights of the disability community with whom therapists  partner.  

This leadership project will start with research on leadership in health care professions to serve as the theoretical underpinning for a series of custom designed training modules on leadership and advocacy for the SLP profession. Graduate and doctoral students, families and associations will also be included in developing the module content. These modules will be posted on an online platform to be accessible to different countries across the African continent thereby expanding the project’s potential reach when compared to an on-site workshop. The project will conclude with participants  evaluating the different modules through a Commitment to Change tool that they developed earlier (Bornman & Louw, 2019)[1].

 

Published by John Mahlangu

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