|NEWSRoom | Source: Global Times|
First SLP/Audiology Program in China Seeks Approval
Fudan University is planning a master's degree program in speech-language pathology in an effort to build up the under-developed field of speech therapy in China.
The program, which still needs approval from the Ministry of Education, would be a significant step toward helping the millions of Chinese with speech and hearing disabilities, many of whom go untreated due to the lack of qualified specialists or end up unnecessarily in deaf and mute schools.
China has some 25.6 million patients with hearing disabilities and 8.5 million with speech disabilities. However, there are fewer than 100 speech therapists in the country, said Chen Zhongmin, a professor from the Department of Chinese Language and Literature at Fudan University, who is spearheading the program. "There will be demand for speech therapists at not only hospitals and rehabilitation centers, but also at communities, schools and even government institutions charged with caring for the disadvantaged."
If approved, the three-year master's program would be the first of its kind in China, according to the university.
Chen estimated that China lacks about 170,000 audiologists and 142,000 speech therapists, based on healthcare standards in developed countries.
Leaving people with speech and hearing disabilities untreated cannot only rob them of a normal life, but can also place a burden on their families and society, said Liu Lirong, an associate professor of European Studies at Fudan University. She said she has met children at schools for the deaf and mute who wouldn't have needed to be there if they had undergone speech therapy at an early age.
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