Mission Trip

SLP on a Mission…Working with Students in Honduras

By | SLP On A Mission

This is a recount of my time spent in Honduras working with students at a local school.
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The following is a recap of my experience at the Abundant Life Christian School in Gracias, Honduras. My friend, Kristi, is a missionary in Gracias, and kindergarten teacher and counselor at ALCS. Her school is a bilingual private school that serves students from K-4 through 12th grade. They do not have regular access to a speech-language pathologist, diagnostician, or special education team. Kristi has a background in special education and has noticed some needs in some of her students. For the past year, we have been communicating about the students and the need she saw for speech-language evaluations. After a year of unsuccessfully trying to connect her with a bilingual SLP who might be willing to travel to Honduras to help out, I finally decided that I would go myself.
After informing the school that I was coming, Kristi and the school administrators were able to arrange for 8 students to meet with me. I packed a bag full of Spanish and English articulation and language screeners, activities, and other resources and got set up in Kristi’s classroom. (Special thank you to Sarah Wu from Speech is Beautiful for her generous donation of resources from her TPT store)

I met with each student and their parent(s) for approximately 45 minutes. The students ranged in age from 3 years old to middle school age. Concerns ranged from articulation to severe language delay.

Through each visit, I was able to hear the concerns from the parent, interact with the student, administer screenings, and provide some tips and tools to help the students going forward. The biggest challenge I faced was knowing that almost every one of the students I met with really needed regular speech therapy services, but would be unable to receive regular services. Luckily, Kristi was eager to learn how she could help each student herself. She took detailed notes and plans to help train the classroom teachers on how to support the needs of each student.

Out of the 8 families I met with, two in particular made a lasting impact on me.

One of the boys I met was a 5 year old with Downs Syndrome. His mother brought him to the school to enroll him in kindergarten. This was unique in itself because children with disabilities are not usually accepted at this school. However, I could immediately tell that this child was more high functioning than many students with Downs Syndrome that I have worked with. His mother shared with us that she had taken him to a town 45 minutes away for PT and OT when he was younger. He made great progress and was dismissed by age 2 or 3. He never received speech therapy, but she had worked with him a lot herself at home. He had quite a few words, but could definitely still benefit from speech therapy.

I was able to give Kristi and the mother some tips and tools to help further his speech and language development. I could tell that this little boy was going to make great progress in school, especially with such a fabulous mother at home working with him. She talked to Kristi and I about how hard it was, but what a blessing her little boy was to her, and I reassured her that she was doing an AMAZING job caring for him, teaching him, and loving him. I truly feel that God chose her to be his mom because she has done everything she can to ensure he has what he needs to thrive in life. I don’t think I can fully explain what meeting this mother and son meant to me. The best thing is that he will be in Kristi’s kinder class this  year, so I will be able to see how he does throughout the school year.

The other family that stands out to me included two young children, ages 6 and 3. The 6 year old daughter was in Kristi’s class last year and really had some unique language and behavior challenges. This little girl is incredibly smart, but struggled to communicate and used a lot of echolalia. Kristi and I both suspected Autism, but in Honduras, Autism is not a diagnosis that would help a child in any way, as children with disabilities are often kept home and not enrolled in school at all, so that was not even discussed. Having Kristi as a teacher last year, this little girl really made great progress in school, but still could have benefited from speech therapy to help build her language skills. I was able to provide Kristi with some information on language development and communication to help her over the next year.

When the parents brought her to meet me, they also brought her 3 year old brother, who was going to be enrolling in the K-4 class this year. He was such a cute boy, but had almost no words at all. You can probably imagine how his behaviors were challenging due to his lack of ability to communicate. We also suspected he may have Autism, but again, did not mention that to the parents. I felt so bad talking to the parents because I could see their exhaustion and frustration. They wanted answers and I felt like I was letting them down because I could not give them any magic “fix” to help their son in that moment. With no access to speech therapy, the best I could do was give them a brief training on how they can support his language development, provide training to Kristi, and leave some resources and information on how to work with him in the school setting. I am thrilled that he will get the chance to enroll in school. I think being with peers in a structured setting will be great for him, as it was for his sister. Meeting this family was heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time. I could not magically make their life any easier, but I could give them hope and tools to take home.

High school classroom at ALCS

The other students I met had needs ranging from mild articulation and language delays, to stuttering, to tongue thrust. I did what I could to train Kristi on how to support these students, and left some materials and information for her. I know these students will be in good hands, but I sure wish they could have a regular speech-language pathologist to work with.

Seeing the school and meeting these students was a great experience. Kristi and her school truly care for these students. I feel honored that God allowed me to meet them and work with them, and I will continue to pray for the students, teachers, and staff at the school.

Kristi and the other teachers will need continued support working with these students in the future. If you are interested in finding out more about how you can help Kristi and the students at her school, please email me at kristin@talkinwithtwang.com.

Click HERE to return to the main post and read more about my trip to Honduras.

SLP on a Mission...

SLP on a Mission…More About 61 Isaiah Ministries

By | SLP On A Mission

This post is more information about 61 Isaiah Ministries, the team I worked with on my mission trip to Honduras.
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About 6 years ago our friends, Shannon and Kristi, decided to move to Honduras to be become missionaries. They formed 61 Isaiah Ministries, packed some of their belongings, and moved with their 2 young children to Gracias, Honduras.


Shannon was previously a youth minister and Kristi was a special education teacher. Over the past 6 years, they have been able to use those skills in their ministry in Honduras. Shannon works in remote villages surrounding Gracias to help train local pastors, spread the Word, and encourage other. He also runs a Christian radio station and hunger farm where locals can come help work the farm and earn food for their family’s. Kristi is a kindergarten teacher at a bilingual school, where she also counsels students and teaches a high school class as well. Kristi has a heart for all of her students and has been a great advocate for them and their needs.

 61 Isaiah Ministries partners with churches all over Texas and the United States. Church groups travel to Gracias for days/weeks to work with Shanon, Kristi, and their team, travel to local villages and share the love of Christ with the locals. Kristi also works very hard to bring groups to help at her school. I helped provide speech and language training to her on my recent trip. She also has a group of teachers coming in October to help provide teacher training to the teachers at her school.

There are many ways to get involved with 61 Isaiah Ministries and the work they are doing in Honduras. Click HERE to visit their website and learn more.

Click HERE to return to the main post and read more about my trip to Honduras.


SLP on a Mission…Meeting Elsi

By | SLP On A Mission

This is a recount of my time in Honduras with Elsi, a little girl with a cleft palate.
Click HERE to return to the main post and read more about my trip to Honduras.

In this post I am sharing about a little girl I met in the village of Santa Elena, Honduras named Elsi.

The mission team of 61 Isaiah Ministries first met Elsi about 3 years ago. She lives in a remote village up in the mountains in Honduras. She was born with a severe cleft palate and lip. The mission team was able to to arrange for her to have surgery to have her cleft palate repaired. Due to malnutrition, in Elsi’s first surgery, doctor’s were only able to repair her lip and nose. Her family was provided with a special bottle and formula, to help her gain weight and a second surgery was scheduled.
The second surgery was initially successful. However, the parents did not follow post op feeding and care guidelines, and Elsi’s stitches ripped open. A third surgery was scheduled. The third surgery had the same results. Elsi’s parents continued to allow her to eat tortillas and chips and things, and a portion of her palate reopened.

Elsi is now 5 years old, and I had the opportunity to meet her on my visit to Santa Elena.  I already knew about Elsi when I arrived in the village, but I did not know how well she could eat or talk. When I first came across Elsi, she was happy and friendly, though very shy. She played with me a while and even opened her mouth so I could see that she does still have a hole about the size of a quarter in soft palate.

I watched Elsi eat with no trouble. I saw that, though she is small, she appears to be healthy and happy. The big thing I noticed was how little she spoke. She did have some words, though I felt that she could be speaking more at this point.

I met with Elsi’s parents in their home. They told me about Elsi’s history and even mentioned that they had another surgery scheduled for this past January, but did not make it. They said they were pleased with her progress since she is now able to eat and is beginning to speak more. The challenge I faced was trying to encourage this family to try and get her to another surgery and to follow the post-op guidelines. I explained that she would be able to speak more clearly and would be better off in the long run if they could get her palate fully repaired.

I also tried to give them some training and tips on how to work with her to build her vocabulary even now. However, in the remote villages of Honduras, school is not the same as in the bigger towns. There are no books. No television. They have limited electricity and limited running water. Elsi will attend school, but most likely only until 6th grade. There will be no speech therapy.

Before we left the village that day, some of the teenage girls from my mission team were able to spend more time with Elsi. They practiced words with her and sang with her. Elsi loves music. They also found a 9 year old cousin of Eli’s and told her to work with Elsi and teach her words.

I don’t know what Elsi’s future holds. I don’t know if she will have another surgery or not. I don’t know if her parents, cousin, or teacher will work with her. What I do know is that I did my best to give the parents some information on how to work with Elsi, and hopefully inspired them to help her as much as they can. I can also continue to pray for Elsi. Would you also pray for Elsi and the other children in world like her?

If you would like more information on Elsi or have any questions, please feel free to email me at kristin@talkinwithtwang.com.

Click HERE to return to the main post and read more about my trip to Honduras.


SLP on a Mission…A Look at my Trip to Honduras

By | SLP On A Mission

Life is full of adventures and experiences that we often do not expect. This summer, I had one such experience when I decided to join my church on a week long mission trip to Honduras. This was definitely not something I planned to do, or even really wanted to do at first…but I finally stopped resisting God’s call and decided to go. The following is a recount of my experience during the week, and how I used my unique skills as a speech-language pathologist to serve in Honduras. I hope by sharing, other SLPs and educators will be inspired to find ways they can volunteer their skills around the world.

My week in Honduras was packed full of experiences. I want to share all of them, but I understand that it would be a VERY long blog post…
To help organize my thoughts and allow readers to navigate the information easier, I have written separate posts for different parts of the trip. Click on each picture to navigate to that particular post.

This experience had a huge impact on my life personally, and as an SLP. My hope is that you will find joy in reading it, and maybe be inspired to find a way you can take your skills abroad.  Enjoy!


Click here to read more about SLP volunteer opportunities abroad.


I hope you enjoyed reading about my trip to Honduras. If you have any questions, or want to know more about the trip, please feel free to leave a comment below. You can also follow me on Facebook where I plan to do a Facebook Live and discuss the trip in more detail. 

SLP on a Mission…How You Can Get Involved

By | SLP On A Mission

The more I have talked to other SLPs about my trip to Honduras, the more I realize that many others want to use their skills abroad, as well. There are many different ways to use your SLP skills internationally. In this post, I will share a few that I know about. Please feel free to comment below if you know of any other opportunities.
Click HERE to return to the main post and read more about my trip to Honduras.

61 Isaiah Ministries
Kristi and 61 Isaiah Ministries would love to have more SLPs, diagnosticians, teachers, and other therapists visit them in Gracias, Honduras. Krisi has a group of teachers coming in October to help train the local teachers at her school and offer classroom support. If you are interested in joining this group, or making a visit with your own group (or on your own), Kristi would love to have you. Contact me at kristin@talkinwithtwang.com for more information on how you can get involved with 61 Isaiah Ministries.

Operation Smile
Operation Smile is a group that works internationally to provide cleft palate repair to children. You can find out more about becoming a volunteer on one of their medical teams by clicking HERE.

Autism on the Seas
Autism on the Seas is a group that provides support staff on cruises for adults and families living with disabilites. Volunteers provide activities, supervision, and assistance to families who want to experience the excitement of cruising. You can find out more about volunteering by clicking HERE.

Local Churches and Universities
You can also check with local churches and universities to see if they have any groups planning to travel abroad for mission type work. Some do not think about having SLPs join their teams, but we can offer valuable support to schools and families with children and adults with disabilities.

What other SLP volunteer opportunities do you know about? Comment below!

Click HERE to return to the main post and read more about my trip to Honduras.