The Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (CAAC) had the honour of hosting Prof Brenda Louw from 8–21 March 2015. Prof Louw is the co-recipient, together with Prof Juan Bornman, of a Carnegie Foundation African Diaspora Fellowship, with CAAC as host institution. Prof Louw is Head of the Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology at East Tennessee State University in the USA. She is also a co-investigator on an American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Multicultural Grant and the Director of a Tennessee Teacher Training Grant. Prof Louw was the 2014 chairperson of the ASHA Convention on Global Issues and Practices across the Professions and will be co-chairperson at the 2015 convention.
During Prof Louw’s visit she was involved in a variety of activities, including the translation of clinical materials and acting as the external examiner for the oral defence of a PhD candidate, Mrs Alida Naude, with a thesis titled ‘Exploring ethical sensitivity in the South African context: developing and implementing a measure in the therapeutic sciences’. Prof Louw also presented two lectures on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health for Children and Youth (ICF-CY) as a framework. Furthermore, CAAC, together with Prof Louw, planned and conducted a half-day seminar titled, ‘The ICF-CY: the new global common language for communication disorders’. It was attended by approximately 40 therapists, some of whom came from neighbouring provinces. The aim of the seminar was to disseminate information and increase the skills of South African practitioners regarding the ICF-CY, as well as to share the clinical measures that are used as part of the project. It was clear from the evaluation feedback that the seminar was judged to be novel, interesting and internationally relevant.
The staff and students at CAAC thoroughly enjoyed Prof Louw’s visit and would like to acknowledge the mentorship that she provided. Her vast knowledge of the discipline and her approachable manner made it easy for staff at CAAC to engage with her and benefit from her visit. The cascading effect of her visit will be a greater uptake of knowledge and skill than originally envisaged.