TalkTools® Goes Global: A Recipe For Success! PART 1

By: Colette Ellis M.Ed., CCC-SLP, BCS-S, Tara Ellis M.S., CCC-SLP & Lisa Scott M.S., CCC-SLP

NOTE: In October 2017, TalkTools® sponsored a therapy mission trip to Roatan, Honduras to aid in evaluation and treatment plan efforts at the Cattleya Roatan, a youth organization for individuals with all abilities. This was a marvelous trip and opportunity for the TalkTools® team. During the late summer months of 2018 we started thinking about a repeat. A new location was considered.

How does one create a therapeutic recipe for success from ‘scratch’? Well, it may look something like this:


1 – Brilliantly successful technique, training and therapy tool company, aka TalkTools®

3 – Highly motivated speech-language pathologists

3 – Student volunteers from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (USAO)

4 – Willing and receptive sponsors, societies, schools

Multiple educators, therapists, and parents from Male and surrounding islands

Multiple entrepreneurial spirits

5 – Plane trips (one way)

3 – Hotel stays

20+- Curry and spicy meals (!)

2.5 – Suitcases full of tools, supplies and equipment

3 – IPad donations equipped with LAMP AAC application

1 – Hail Mary…long story

Prep Time: 11 months

Special Training: 4 presentations pertaining to oral placement therapy, 1 general presentation on what speech-language pathologists can do (speech, language, voice, OPT, dysphagia, AAC…), 1 student presentation on the American Sign Language (ASL) system (all in the Maldives Islands), 4 days of instruction for TalkTools® Level I and Level II classes, and 1 undergraduate/graduate presentation to the National Institute of Speech and Hearing (NISH) spontaneously shared (In Kerala, which means ‘Land of Coconuts’, Trivandrum, India).

Servings: Multiple offerings, with potential for reduplication! Honey Bear approved!








May 1, 2019 Day One: 10:50 departure

OKC to Dallas, Texas – then Dallas to San Francisco 6:00 pm departure

San Francisco to Singapore: departure time 11:55 May 1, 2019

15 hour flight to Singapore: 8 hour Singapore layover, Tara and I obtained a day visa to have lunch with my son (her brother-in-law), while the rest of the group took a 2 hour tour of Singapore. Dr. Jason Ellis D.C. is a chiropractor with Natural Healings, Singapore. We all melted from the heat and humidity. Believe it or not it is now May 3, 2019 Singapore time (which is 13 hours ahead of Oklahoma time).

Back to the airport by 6:00 pm to re-pass security, change and ready for the flights to Hong Kong and then on to Male, Maldives. We still had many more hours ahead of us.



Day 3: Arrival at Male, Maldives 10:55 pm (Whoops, speed boat to Maafushi, Maldives was not ordered! We waited until 12:30 for a new one), 30 minute speed boat ride to the island of Maafushi, Maldives (arrival 1:20, bed by 2:00 am) for our ‘one’ rest and recovery day prior to our consultations.

Day 4: First views of Maafushi by night then by day…by the way few cars are available on the island; our suitcases were transported 3 blocks by a push cart!


Pinch us…we’re here!



Day 5: Ferry boat to Male, the capital city of the Maldives with interesting, yet efficient transportation that delivered us from the ferry dock. We then taxied to present to eager educators, parents and therapists at Beautiful Eyes, the Down syndrome association of Male. Special thanks go to our student volunteer, Juman, who allowed me to do a live demonstration!  We were treated to a late lunch afterwards.


Check back soon for part two ! 🙂







Talktool admin 05 Jun 19