American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Multicultural/Multilingual Issues (MMI) in CSD Curricula: Resources for Infusion

ASHA believes that the quality of educational preparation for delivery of clinical services is highly correlated with the quality of services provided to the public by certified professional practitioners. Consequently, ASHA maintains a system of accreditation for college and university graduate programs that provide entry-level professional preparation with a major emphasis in audiology and/or speech-language pathology. Programs must be specifically designed to prepare students for entry into professional practice and provide curriculum (academic and clinical education) that reflects current knowledge, skills, technology, scopes of practice, and the diversity of society. Resources for infusing multicultural/multilingual issues (MMI) into the core curriculum for speech-language pathology and audiology.

A Survey

Stockman, Boult, and Robinson surveyed CAA-accredited programs in The ASHA Leader article "Multicultural Issues in Academic and Clinical Education: A Cultural Mosaic" to gather data as to how programs are meeting the "multicultural issues requirement for program accreditation and the adequacy of current practices." A Meta-Analysis of MMI courses revealed that although both theoretical and applied aspects of MMI were addressed by all of the course syllabi that were examined, these two areas were never equally addressed. In addition, they found the following:

  • 77% of respondents identified themselves as "strongly committed" to infusing MMI.
  • Clinical experience and CEU professional training opportunities were the most common methods of faculty preparation. A specific MMI course was the least common.
  • MMI was perceived to be pertinent only to certain subject areas within the CSD curriculum.
  • The best method of MMI infusion is one that includes MMI instruction in all academic content areas as well as a specific MMI related course. A foundational course or an infused course?

Multicultural infusion in coursework

Multicultural content typically has been included in the curriculum using one or both of the following approaches:

The infused course approach embeds multicultural content in one or more existing courses within the curriculum. The courses targeted for infusion of multicultural content typically focus on typical and atypical speech, language and hearing characteristics that are relevant to clinical assessment and intervention services. Existing courses may embed multicultural content within one or more lectures as appropriate to a topic, and/or they may devote a separate lecture or unit to such content.

Multicultural content may be embedded in the curriculum within a specific foundational course dedicated to the topic. Such a foundational course focuses on concepts that are broadly applicable across the curriculum of professional study in speech-language pathology and audiology. It should cover topics such as cultural differences that affect services to specific groups and the etiologies of specific speech, language and hearing disorders that differentially impact specific populations.

Ideally a curriculum should include both approaches to multicultural content. That is, a course dedicated to multicultural issues should be included among the basic foundational courses available in addition to curricular-wide infusion of multicultural content into existing professional courses.

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