Dr. Silvia Martinez in Alexandria
Reportage/ Eman Yousri
Silvia Martinez is the Former Director Multicultural Education and Practices at American Speech–Language–Hearing Association (ASHA). Martinez was born in January 21, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Spain. She studied International Education at Harvard University. Martinez lives now in Washington, District of Columbia. And she works as an Associate professor at Howard University.
Martinez was in Egypt along with the announcing of the Speech and Language Pathology International Program, which titled as “ISSUES ON PEDIATRIC SPEECH AND LANGUAGE DISORDERS”. The program was one of the most important scientific programs that held in Egypt. This Program has continued for five continuous days from 30 July to 3 August 2017, in Alexandria, Egypt.
For the first time ever in Egypt, the program is accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) for 3.75 ASHA CEU’s (Intermediate Level-Professional Area).
The program involved four main speakers, who, Dr. Wael Al- Dakroury, Ph.D., CCC-SLP (Program Director), Dr. Yaser Natour, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Dr. Silvia Martinez, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, and Dr. Martine Elie, Ph.D., CCC-SLP.
And here is reportage with Dr. Silvia Martinez about the program, the Egyptian scientific community and about her time in Egypt.
- What is you specific specialist?
My specialties are various. I am first of all, doing research on Spanish language development. The research is important since there is not enough information in the field to address the needs of Spanish speaking populations. Also, because of the many dialects of Spanish, we cannot use all the tests and materials that are available in Spanish. With the research I am carrying out I hope to offer clinicians information for them to perform better diagnosis and treatment.
There are two types of knowledge I am investigating and using to deliver clinical products. The first addresses phonology. I am researching the dialectal differences between Central American countries, and the phonological development of children from Central America. With this information, I am developing a Test of Articulation which acknowledges the dialectal differences of this region. We have looked at development of phonemes, types of phonological processes and their use, as well as syllable structure development.
The second type of work is developing clinical materials in Spanish for clinicians to use during treatment to address morphosyntax. We are writing a series of books, and the first one is for the treatment of articles and nouns. We are hoping to have this book completed by September. Other books will include information about other morpho-syntax areas.
- From your point of view, what is the effect of that great conference on the Egyptian scientific community?
The ultimate effect that we want from these types of events is that our patients get better by using the best methods and instruments possible. We all must get together and share with each other the knowledge that we have. Just as I presented information during our conference, I tried the best I could to obtain information from the clinicians in the conference. Because, that information will ultimately be used by all to help those that are most in needs. We all need to be confronted with new information, that is how we grow professionally and that is how our professions grow within the countries.
So, I am hoping that this conference not only helped clinicians be even more effective, but that also people started to think about what the profession will look like in the future. This must be an on-going process, because if not, we become stagnated, and stop being effective to our clients as well as our country.
I am very excited about what is happening in Egypt with our professions, the future looks good, and there are so many professionals who are enthusiastic and willing to work above and beyond what is expected to make a difference in their country. And believe me, I will make use of the information that I learned from the participants when I teach my classes and mentor my students from Arab countries.
- What is the difference between the American and Egyptian students?
Truthfully, while there is no difference between these groups of students, I found the Egyptian students to be very motivated in learning from the group of presenters. I imagine that it is because the American students may have more opportunities to participate in these types of events. But also, the profession in Egypt is in the process of transforming and becoming stronger. Therefore, the enthusiasm and interest in the students to really be strong clinicians and make an impact on the country permeated during the whole conference. It was very exciting and joyful to experience.
- How do you see the education level of the Egyptians students in the conference?
I really do not have any way of gauging the education level of the students in the conference. Nevertheless, I was happy to hear how appreciative they were about receiving the information we presented. Some students even expressed frustration because they had not received some of the clinical ideas beforehand. To me, this is a good thing, because in our professions, we are always learning, we always need to read about new techniques, and we also must strive to do research on what is effective with our patients so that we can share with others.
Therefore, I felt that the conference was a success because the aim of these types of activities is for all of us to understand how much we do not know, and how much we have to learn. That inspires our brain juices to experiment, to research, to share….all thinking of offering the best services to the community. The students were like sponges, and offered questions which made me think their brains were working hard so that they can apply and develop new techniques and be able to contribute to the professions worldwide.
I was enamored by all the students and their wise questions….yes….the brain juices were working!!!
Dr. Silvia Martinez seeing the pyramids in Person!
5- Is it your first time in Egypt and Alexandria? And what are the places you visit and loved more?
My dream to come to Egypt has come true with this trip. I have loved being able to see the Mediterranean and the city of Alexandria. It has been exciting to see the different historical sites and learn so much about the different cultures and peoples that have lived in Egypt.
The people are wonderful, generous, kind, and I must say…..fun!!!! They so remind me of my Spanish culture…..but….we must be reminded that the Arab culture was instrumental in forging the culture in Spain. I am from Puerto Rico, and most of the people who colonized our island came from Andalucía, Spain, a stronghold of the Arabic culture. What can I say about seeing the pyramids in person? One of the wonders of the world! A dream fulfilled….and all my friends are jealous because it is also their dream to visit such the inspirational placed, that they hearing about the historical facts and actually seeing the beautiful statues, carvings, jewelry, and other artifacts. We also had a dinner cruise on the Nile…..wonderful. It was so funny, also, to hear people sing, “Despacito” which is from musicians from my homeland. It was so great to know that even though our worlds are so apart, we are able to appreciate common things.