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Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Senior academic presents at SASUF Virtual Conference 2020

INTERNATIONALISATION: Lead researchers, Prof Elina Mäki-Torkko (black jersey), Head of the Audiological Research Centre at Orebro University (Sweden) and Dr Diane Bell (green top), Manager: Strategic Initiatives and Projects in the Faculty of Business and Management Sciences (CPUT) and their team visit the Carel du Toit Centre in Cape Town for project planning. INTERNATIONALISATION: Lead researchers, Prof Elina Mäki-Torkko (black jersey), Head of the Audiological Research Centre at Orebro University (Sweden) and Dr Diane Bell (green top), Manager: Strategic Initiatives and Projects in the Faculty of Business and Management Sciences (CPUT) and their team visit the Carel du Toit Centre in Cape Town for project planning.

A senior academic in the Faculty of Business and Management Sciences is one of two lead researchers who presented on Childhood hearing impairments at this year’s South Africa–Sweden University Forum (SASUF) virtual conference.

Dr Diane Bell, Manager: Strategic Initiatives and Projects in the Faculty, presented on early detection, diagnosis and rehabilitation of hearing impairments during SASUF’s first digital forum which took place from 23 to 27 November 2020.

SASUF is a project funded by the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education that brings Swedish and South African higher education institutions together around sustainability issues.

The other lead researcher who presented during the conference was Prof Elina Mäki-Torkko, Head of the Audiological Research Centre and senior consultant in audiology at Orebro University, Sweden.

In addition to Bell’s keen interest in internationalisation and developing global citizenship, she is also a strong proponent for the realisation of the rights of persons with disabilities, particularly those with hearing impairment. To this effect, she serves as a member of the Presidential Working Group on Disability, an advisory team on disability-related matters.

She is also a committed researcher and her areas of interest extend to inclusive curricula as well as hearing-related assistive technology and hearing impairment, from an educational perspective. The purpose of SASUF is to stimulate interdisciplinary collaboration at both individual and institutional level to strengthen ties in the areas of research, education and innovation.

Bell and her research team submitted their proposal for the collaborative project grant in 2019 and were awarded a grant of 100 000 SEK to execute the project, including site visits to South Africa and Sweden.

“The aim of the project is to evaluate the outcomes of a South African Early Hearing Detection and Intervention program at the Carel du Toit Centre, focusing on system evaluation,” she says. “The Swedish research team were able to travel to Cape Town for a site visit at the Carel du Toit Centre, including the CHAT centre (where Children Hear and Talk) during February 2020, just before lockdown, for a project planning meeting.” 

The CHAT centre provides an early intervention programme to develop the oral communication skills of young children (up to age three) identified with a hearing impairment, including audiological services, speech and language as well as social services.  CHAT also capacitates the parents or caregivers to work with the children on a daily basis to develop their listening and language skills.

Bell adds that despite the postponement of the South African team’s visit to Sweden, the project has progressed well and is currently at the data collection stage. The team aims to complete the project in June 2021 and is looking forward to sharing the results.

Written by Kwanele Butana

Email: butanak@cput.ac.za

Provides coverage for the Business and Management Sciences and Education Faculties, Student Affairs Department and Cape Town and Mowbray Campuses.