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Speech pathology in China?


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I teach English in Changde, Hunan, a small-medium city by Chinese standards. I have a ten year old student who appears to have some learning difficulties. The students in this class are absolute beginners. I took over this class from another teacher beginning with the third class and in the first class we taught them "hello", etc. Even though none of the students are great at pronouncing English yet, I noticed that this one girl was failing in very consistent ways. I suspected that she may have severe hearing loss so I spoke to her after class in Chinese. Then I discovered that she can hear fine and has patterned speech problems in Chinese. I spoke to her mother about this, and suggested that though I was happy to have her in my class, she was not disruptive, and appeared to enjoy it very much, without professional help to address the girls condition, she would fall further and further behind until she soon found the class no longer enjoyable. I also encouraged her to seek professional help because without proper intervention, the student's speech problems will likely continue and handicap her in other areas, not just my English class.


The mother is financially capable of hiring a professional, but seemed helpless. She insisted that I help her myself, as she didn't seem to know how to find anyone else. Of course I want to help this girl, but she would benefit more from seeing an expert. So I have some questions about China. Is speech pathology such a rare profession in China? In the U.S. children with speech problems would automatically receive intervention from a trained speech therapist at school, do schools in China have speech therapists? Are there speech therapists in China with private clinics? Outside of Beijing and Shanghai? Should I tell this woman to just open a phone book and find someone or is it likely that in a small-medium Chinese city like this, that just isn't possible?


I want to help this little girl, but I just don't have enough information, please help me.

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I had a vocal cord trauma last year which involved a minor surgery and normally would have been followed by a few weeks of speech pathology/therapy. I was told that in China this field of medicine essentially doesn't exist, with the closet thing being voice coaching in professional acting/singing schools - you may be able to convince such voice coaches to moonlight, although they may be reluctant and even then may not be able to address specific problems.


I've heard of others using voice therapists in Beijing, although am under the impression it is a very nascent field and thus not widespread at all. My understanding is that this sub-field only received its own major in China's university system in the last few years, so before that it was all grouped with ENTs who of course have a lot more on their plate.

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That, unfortunately, confirms what I feared. Now the mother's response makes much more sense. Thank you for sharing your first hand knowledge of the situation, I needed more than the vague impression I had.


This sucks, because it means she just isn't going to get the help she needs. I'm not a speech therapist. I know almost nothing about speech pathology and my Chinese isn't quite up to the task of guiding the girl through the diagnostics and subsequent excercises. I know more than enough about phonetics to teach English, but it's like asking someone to work as a doctor after she/he had taken a single anatomy class.


Does anyone have any good ideas how best to help this girl, assuming that I'm not going to become a fully qualified speech therapist overnight?

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I found a nurse training in this field and she, pretty much confirms what you say icebear, she says there's only a couple schools in Beijing and Shanghai where this field is studied. She complains of the difficulties of finding textbooks on speech pathology. She also mentioned Guangzhou, but it wasn't clear from our brief conversation, what relation Guangzhou has to this field, perhaps there is a school there as well. It is likely slightly more widespread than that, but in either case it's an incredibly undeveloped field here, so if you know a lot about speech pathology and can speak Chinese, you can probably make beaucoup bucks and become famous in China.

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  • 1 year later...
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As I am searching for a speech pathologist in China too, I stumbled over this info about speech therapy option in Changsha, Hunan.

Speech Therapist at The Second Xiangya Hospital Of Central South University

Changsha, Hunan, ChinaMedical Practice

Maybe this can be helpful for yr student, if still relevant.



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