American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

2007-2008 Projects on Multicultural Activities

Development of Standard and Multifrequency Tympanometry Norms for Native American Children (Birth-5 years) and Young Adults
Samuel R. Atcherson & Paul Brueggeman
University of South Dakota

Three studies published in the last decade have demonstrated ethnic differences in tympanometric function between Caucasian and Chinese adults (Roup et al, 1998; Wan & Wong, 2002; Shahnaz & Davies, 2006). If we are confident that there are middle ear function differences between Caucasian and Chinese adults, then such data alludes to the possibility that differences exist in other ethnic groups. Literature showing evidence of differences in temporal bone shape (Schulter, 1976), gross skull structure (Phipps et al, 1988), Eustachian tube function (Beery et al, 1980), and outer ear anatomy (Overfield & Call, 1983) in Native Americans, as well as data suggesting that Native American children are 2.51 times more likely to have middle ear complications compared to Caucasians (Moore, 1999), raise numerous questions about the efficacy of our current practice for identifying middle ear disorders in this ethnic group. The primary objective of this project was to collect and disseminate quantitative data to our field regarding normal middle ear function for the Native American population for both young adults and young children.

Out of 51 Native American children seen, there were 38 useable records for data analysis. Out of the 54 Caucasian or Native American adults seen, there were 37 useable records for adult data analysis. Of the useable Native American adult records, there was data on only 6 subjects (3 female and 3 male). Worthwhile tympanometric comparisons of gender and ethnicity (i.e. adult Caucasians and Native Americans) could not be made.

Data generated from this project will not only serve as valuable pilot data related to middle ear functioning in the Native American population, but also as evidence of the need for future research exploration related to the development of normative data specific to different ethnic populations.

Digital Treatment Materials for Intervention in Spanish and English
Steven Long
Marquette University

This project produced a PC computer-based system for selecting and presenting digital media (photographs, videos, music, and speech files) in Spanish and English to patients in treatment. Media were organized by means of a database that allows items to be selected from linguistic and pragmatic categories across both languages. Multiple speakers provide speech models representing a range of language-age-gender-ethnicity characteristics.

The overall goal of the project was to improve the quality of intervention for speech sound and language disorders with speakers of Spanish and English. The objectives of the project were to 1) provide ASHA members with a treatment tool that is appropriate for individuals from CLD populations; 2) develop software that has an application in the areas of professional education and student training, thereby infusing multiculturalism into each of those activities; and 3) enable clinical research into issues such as the effect of auditory language models that are culturally and linguistically similar or dissimilar to the child, the effect of moving versus still picture stimuli on children's attentiveness and responsiveness in therapy, and the impact of extensions to treatment that utilize the home computer.

A website to receive requests for and provide support of the MaUSECat software for Spanish and English was completed at The media library and databases provide the following resources: a large library of photographs (2000+ English, 2500+ Spanish), over 200 videos, 30 audio files of familiar children's music, pronunciation of all picture names by native speakers, and photo albums.

Dine’ é yaa dahónóódzijt: Understanding the Navajo: Language, People and Culture
Angela Curtright
Pinon Unified School District/Black Mesa Community School/University of Central Missouri/University of Arizona

Angela Curtright Pinon Unified School District/Black Mesa Community School/University of Central Missouri/University of Arizona

American Indians/Alaskan Natives represent 0.9% of the U.S. population, according to the 2000 U.S. Census data; roughly 2,475,956 people. In the extremely rural central region of the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona, Native Americans represent 97.3% of the regional population (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2000). For the area of the Navajo Reservation that includes the Pinon Unified School District (PUSD) and the Black Mesa Community School (BMCS), 49.7% of families live below the poverty level and 81.4% speak a language other than English (primarily Navajo, U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2000). According to school district data, 37% and 99% (respectively) of the student populations in those districts are identified as ELL (English Language Learners). Due to cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic factors this population of school children is particularly vulnerable to over- or under-identification for special services in the schools, especially in the area of speech-language impairment (Kayser, 1996; Quinn, Goldstein & Pena, 1996; Robinson-Zanartu, 1996; Ukrainetz, 2000). A major challenge for the field of speech-language pathology is the appropriate assessment of multicultural/multilingual individuals (Adler, 1993; Battle, 1998; Cheng, 1996; Cole, 1989; Kayser, 1995; Kritikos, 2003; Robinson & Crowe, 1998). There is limited evidence that Native American students perform any better for performance based assessments than they do on standardized measures (Bevan-Brown, 2001; Lee, 1998; Naglieri, 1983; Ukrainetz, 2000). Therefore, comparing Native American student performance on norm-referenced, processing-dependent, and dynamic assessment will provide valuable data for the research base in the assessment of Native American students for speech-language services.

The project's two primary objectives were to 1) Add to the base of research in the field of speech-language pathology regarding ethical decision-making with culturally-linguistically diverse populations, and 2) To increase participating evaluator's knowledge, skills, and awareness of culturally and linguistically diverse populations by participating in specific activities. Fourteen graduate and undergraduate SLP students and five ASHA certified SLPs participated in two days of intensive training during a two-week exchange program and evaluation period. Data was collected on 157 Navajo children in grades 1, 3, 5, 7 or 9. The Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-4 (CELF-4) demonstrated sensitivity and specificity in the identification of students with language impairment, but at a much lower cut point than the typical standardization (mean 100). The Non-Word Repetition Task did not demonstrate a significant discrepancy in performance between students with language impairment and the population sample, particularly after 3rd grade. The Dynamic Assessment Recalling Sentences measure demonstrated a significant difference between the performances of the students with language impairment and the population sample. The Dynamic Assessment Formulated Sentences task showed a difference in performance in the lower grades, but virtually none at the 9th grade level.

The Validation of a Language Use Questionnaire across Bilingual Clinical Populations
Swathi Kiran
The University of Texas at Austin

In order to effectively conduct research or intervention with bilingual individuals it is necessary to describe their language proficiency and language history. In the U.S., approximately 32 million individuals are bilingual. A number of language history questionnaires exist (e.g. Gutierrez-Clellen & Kreiter, 2003; Li, Sepanski, & Zhao, 2006) that either do not address all areas of interest and provide an incomplete view of the individual's language history or they ask individuals to provide historical self evaluations. Research shows that people are better at describing current function and activities. Thus, there is a need to develop a questionnaire that includes these features.

The project objectives were to 1) Develop a bilingual questionnaire to be used to obtain language history and current use of an individual's two languages, and 2) validate the use of the questionnaire items using a battery of oral and written language measures. Data was collected from 139 bilingual participants (14 Russian-English, 30 Spanish-English, 20 Turkish-English, 20 Kannada-English, 15 Hindi-English, 2 Arabic-English, and 30 Mandarin-English). The main goal of data analysis was to identify specific predictors of language proficiency from the analysis of the relationship between language use history and objective performance based measures.

Results indicated a complex interaction between aspects of the language use questionnaire and the objective measures studies. Three manuscripts are being prepared focusing on 1) the consistency for different language groups and for different levels of proficiency, 2) item overlap in bilingual category generation and if this overlap varies by language group, L1/L2 age of acquisition or by taxonomic/script based learning; and 3) an examination of the similarities and differences in category generation responses across the seven language combinations.

2007-2008 Review Panel: Arnell Brady, Martine Elie, Shuba Kashinath, Anita Kozan, James Lee, and Rebecca Reeves

Share This Page

Print This Page