Philipa Briggs is a recent graduate from the Child Development MA program, who hails from Durban, South Africa. Philipa is a speech therapist, and her experience in this field led her towards an interest in child psychology. While at the University of Haifa, Philipa proposed a project to better diagnose children in South Africa who have psychological issues resulting from trauma. She was recognized with an oustanding award for her final project in the MA program. The following details her story.
Before coming to Haifa, Philipa worked as a speech therapist in rural hospitals and schools in South Africa where violence, AIDS prevalence, and other factors leave many children orphans or dealing with trauma. She explained the difficulties of this situation: these rural communities do not have enough resources for educators and professionals to best accomodate the students. There were many underqualified teachers working here, and often times there also were not enough psychologists in schools. As a result, in many instances teachers would end up “diagnosing” and “treating” their students’ speech impediments, without the proper knowledge and background to do so, and ultimately the student would be misdiagnosed.
Philipa’s project grappelled with this issue. She suggusted that this situation could improve if teachers were given better training. She proposed that teachers get better support, including being trained on “psychological first aid”. She hopes to get a course for teachers accredited back home in South Africa. (see image below for more information about the project)
We wish Philipa the best of luck as she pursues her vision!
Read more stories about our International Master’s program in Child Development.