New Lands, New Possibilities

 Speaking from the Volta Bureau Autumn banner

Emilio Alonso-Mendoza summerDear Alexander Graham Bell Community,

I started writing this to you at 35,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean on a return flight from Europe. One of the revelations coming from the International Forum at the 2015 AG Bell Listening and Spoken Language Symposium last July is that there is great interest in AG Bell serving as a global hub for knowledge on listening and spoken language, just as Dr. Bell envisioned. Through sharing of published and peer-reviewed materials, AG Bell can work to ensure that listening and spoken language professionals around the world have access to the resources they need to enhance their listening and spoken language capacity, and children with hearing loss have more opportunities to learn to hear and talk.

Part of the reason for my visit was to bring the AG Bell Academy's Listening and Spoken Language Specialist (LSLS®) exam to London. A new group of professionals was given the opportunity to receive recognition for their work and achieve certification. I took advantage of the opportunity to visit Auditory Verbal UK. Auditory Verbal UK was founded in 2003 to provide access to auditory-verbal therapy for the first time in the United Kingdom. The Auditory Verbal Centre has supported over 1,000 families since its founding and has won several British charity awards for community involvement and recognition as an organization. These awards not only celebrate good business practices and a commitment to service, they are also an important advancement of the work the organization does, and the work of all listening and spoken language professionals. 

Auditory Verbal UK
At Auditory Verbal UK with my hosts Francis Clark,
back row, third from the right, and Anita Grover,
front row on the left.

Dr. Bell traveled well into the final years of his life to expand his own mind and share his knowledge with others. While abroad, he spent extensive time learning of new approaches to teaching the deaf and shared his own methods. It is an honor to perpetuate this spirit of shared knowledge, to give what we know to new audiences and to learn what they have to share with us.

One way we expand our reach is through collaborations with other international organizations. At the LSL Symposium I introduced a vision for collaboration, and what we as global representatives of the field could do to expand the understanding of listening and spoken language. I was impressed by attendees' keen interest in how barriers of location and language could be overcome for LSLS candidates to access resources necessary for certification. 

With Svante at LSL Symposium
With Svante Borjesson at the International Forum
during the LSL Symposium in Baltimore.
One of the attendees at the International Forum was Svante Borjesson of CLAVE, a leading hearing loss center in Spain that serves to support people with hearing loss as well as the professionals who work with them. Svante and I are working together to develop a European International Symposium. This new event will serve to expand AG Bell's reach into Europe in a more lasting way, making our information and support more accessible to thousands of professionals on the continent. Through this new collaborative symposium, we will jointly develop curriculum for European professionals who will be able to acquire the continuing education necessary for working with children and adults who are deaf and hard of hearing and use listening and spoken language. 
Gary Yates at an exhibit
Gary Yates, AG Bell Manager of Association Relations,
with Joe Steinbock, President of the Guild of
Professional Tour Guides of Washington D.C.

Landing back in D.C., AG Bell hosted a table at the 2015 Guild of Professional Tour Guides of Washington, D.C. Showcase. So many of the 200 attendee-members visited our exhibit, and we were happy to share information on the history and the rental opportunities of the Volta Bureau, and of the association and its programs. Many of the 25 Guild members who came to tour the Volta Bureau two weeks earlier stopped by to express their pleasure at visiting a "newly-discovered" hidden gem in D.C., and to congratulate AG Bell for joining the ranks of the Friends of the Guild of Professional Tour Guides of Washington, D.C. I hope this marks a new beginning for the Volta Bureau as a historic destination in Georgetown. Our doors are open during regular business hours to accommodate tours and any interested parties. Let us know when you're in Washington so we can welcome you as well!

On a final note, last Monday, AG Bell Chief Strategy Officer Gayla Guignard was happy to wrap up the call for presentations for the 2016 AG Bell Convention in Denver. We were amazed by the wealth of material that our potential presenters have shared and can't wait to see it in action! From pre-convention workshops to poster presentations, the submitted proposals have shown off extraordinary educational opportunities for all audiences. Gayla and I visited the Denver convention site this weekend and we are sure that 2016 will be our best convention yet!

Until next week,


Emilio Alonso-Mendoza
[email protected]


Collaboration begins with mutual understanding and respect.
- Astronaut Ron Garan