The Bridge School

Teachers In Residence

Teachers In Residence
GABRIELA BERLANGA USHA DALVI KRITHIKA VENKATRAMAN MADHUMITA DASGUPTA PATRICIA GUTIÉRREZ CARMEN VALCU KYUNG-IM HAN KIRSTY NOURSE VERONICA GAVU SARAH YONG ALINA SMYCZEK

GABRIELA BERLANGA

2004-2005 – GABRIELA BERLANGA
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO

Gaby is a speech pathologist specializing in AAC. Upon her return to Mexico City she started a clinic designed to serve this population. Additionally, she offers workshops and instruction to professionals and families in the greater Mexico City area. She recently helped to organize an international AAC conference for Central and South America making a great impact for the people of those countries. Learn More

USHA DALVI

1998-1999 – USHA DALVI
MUMBAI, INDIA

Usha Dalvi was the first recipient of the Teacher in Residence Award. Currently, Ms. Dalvi is an instructor in speech-language pathology at a professional training program, the Ali Yavar Jung Institute for the Hearing Handicapped. While here, Usha developed a course outline and curriculum addressing AAC for professionals studying to become speech-language pathologists in her country of India.

KRITHIKA VENKATRAMAN

2014-2015 – KRITHIKA VENKATRAMAN
CHENNAI, INDIA

The 2014-2015 Teacher in Residence is Krithika Venkatraman from Chennai, India where she is employed as a special educator at Vidya Sagar. Krithika has a postgraduate diploma in special education with an emphasis on multiple disabilities including physical and neurological impairments from Madras University and Rehabilitation Council of India. Her assignment at Vidya Sagar has focused on working with children with multiple disabilities ranging in age from 5 to 10 years. Learn More

MADHUMITA DASGUPTA

2012-2013 – MADHUMITA DASGUPTA
KOLKATA, INDIA

Madhumita has a Bachelor Degree in Special Education (Locomotor Impairments and Neuromuscular Disorders) and is currently working as a Research Assistant in Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy, Kolkata, India. Learn More

PATRICIA GUTIÉRREZ

2018-2019 – PATRICIA GUTIÉRREZ
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA

Patricia has been working as an independent assistive technology consultant & trainer for the last 25 years, providing training services for people who work with children with special educational needs such as cognitive and physical disabilities, autism, Down syndrome, Angelman syndrome, sensory difficulties, language and complex communication needs among others. Her focus is on the use of technology in the areas of AAC, literacy and accessibility.

CARMEN VALCU

2016-2017 – CARMEN VALCU
BUCHAREST, ROMANIA

Carmen is from Bucharest, Romania and she has been a Special Needs Teacher since 2009, in a class formed by students with severe, profound, associated intellectual and communication impairments. She has also worked as an ABA therapist for a few years and as a Speech and Language Pathologist after graduating with a Masters in Language and Speech Therapy.

KYUNG-IM HAN

2011-2012 – KYUNG-IM HAN
CHANGWON, SOUTH KOREA

Kyung-Im has a Ph.D degree in Special Education and is a professor in the Department of Special Education at Changwon National University in South Korea. She has taught about education for children with physical and multiple disabilities, individualized education program, and special education instruction.

KIRSTY NOURSE

2008-2009 – KIRSTY NOURSE
DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA

Kirsty Gillian Nourse is a speech and language therapist and audiologist working in Durban, South Africa for Pathways-Kloof. In her capacity as Academic Principal, Kirsty runs her own class, provides clinical supervision for university students, facilitates programs for all the children in the school and oversees a home program for children unable to attend school on a regular basis.

VERONICA GAVU

2006-2007 – VERONICA GAVU
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

Veronica is a teacher and Head of Department at the Tembaletu Lsen School, part of the Western Cape Education Department. Upon her return to Cape Town, Veronica began giving presentations about lessons learned while at The Bridge School. She is also teaching a class and leading the implementation of Assistive Technology services at her school.

SARAH YONG

2002-2003 – SARAH YONG
SINGAPORE

Sarah is a speech pathologist specializing in AAC. Upon her return to Singapore she worked with others to develop a clinic and education center for the use and implementation of AAC/AT. Her efforts have resulted in the availability of services to underserved populations, especially adults, in Singapore. Currently Sarah is the co-chair of the ISAAC Emerging Nations committee.

ALINA SMYCZEK

2000-2001 – ALINA SMYCZEK
KRAKOW, POLAND

Ala is credentialed in special education and speech language pathology in Poland and currently is working at the Szkola Podstawowa Specjalna Nr 150 in Krakow. She has implemented the use of AAC/AT tools and strategies for students throughout her school. She also serves as a leader in the area mentoring and instructing others in the inclusion of AAC/AT into daily lives.

PATRICIA GUTIÉRREZ

My name is Patricia Gutiérrez. I’m from Doblas, a small village in La Pampa province and live in Buenos Aires city, Argentina. I have been working as an independent assistive technology consultant & trainer for the last 25 years, providing training services for people who work with children with special educational needs such as cognitive and physical disabilities, autism, Down syndrome, Angelman syndrome, sensory difficulties, language and complex communication needs among others. My focus is on the use of technology in the areas of AAC, literacy and accessibility.

I do believe that every person can learn, and that technology can play a huge difference in the lives of people with disabilities to reach their fullest potential. I consider myself a lifelong learner and having the opportunity of being the Teacher in Residence at The Bridge School is not only an honor, but also a wonderful, amazing opportunity in my life to improve my background knowledge.

I will do my best so that it will also be an opportunity to better serve the kids, families and therapists I have been working with in Argentina. I do hope this will be an opportunity for them, too.

CARMEN VALCU

My name is Carmen Valcu, I’m from Bucharest, Romania and I have been a Special Needs Teacher since 2009, in a class formed by students with severe, profound, associated intellectual and communication impairments. I have also worked as an ABA therapist for a few years and as a Speech and Language Pathologist after graduating with a Masters in Language and Speech Therapy.

I worked with children who have special educational needs such as severe mental disabilities, autism, ADHD, Down syndrome, neuromotor impairments, behavioral difficulties; all of them had complex communicational needs that limited their day-by-day life.

Being the Teacher in Residence at The Bridge School is an amazing enriching experience, from which I already gained new skills in the field of Augmentative and Alternative Communication, that will give me the appropriate strategies to maximize the potential of every child I interact with and to use new approaches in managing the communication difficulties of their everyday existence.

KRITHIKA VENKATRAMAN

The 2014-2015 Teacher in Residence is Krithika Venkatraman from Chennai, India where she is employed as a special educator at Vidya Sagar. Krithika has a postgraduate diploma in special education with an emphasis on multiple disabilities including physical and neurological impairments from Madras University and Rehabilitation Council of India. Her assignment at Vidya Sagar has focused on working with children with multiple disabilities ranging in age from 5 to 10 years.Krithika has a very ambitious agenda for her return to India. She will be working with the staff at Vidya Sagar on the implementation of the communication and educational strategies that she has found effective at The Bridge School and in that she believes can be integrated into the culture of the school in Chennai. Changing practices and introducing different approaches is difficult, however, Krithika is up for the challenge.

 Vidya Sagar was founded in 1985 by the mother of a child with a profound disability. The program started with three students and three staff members with the initial focus being a parent training program. Its objectives were to work on strategies that would empower parents of children with neurological impairments to include their children within their homes and support their inclusion in the community. The institution has expanded to run programs reaching out to over 3800 individuals with disabilities. The success of Vidya Sagar is predicated on providing high quality services, focusing on early intervention, special education, physiotherapy, speech and communication therapy, vision training, occupational therapy, co-curricula activities, counseling and vocational training. In addition, there are opportunities for exploring and creating employment and training of resource persons to work in the field of disability.

PATRICIA GUTIÉRREZ