American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

1998-1999 Projects on Multicultural Activities

Home Literacy Experiences of African American and Hispanic-Preschool Children
Carol Hammer
The Pennsylvania State University

There is an urgent need to understand the home literacy environments of African American and Hispanic preschoolers from low-income families, children who make up 36% and 26% of the population served by Head Start, respectively. The reason for this is that mismatches often exist between how literacy events are mediated in children's homes and classrooms (Heath, 1983; Westby, 1995).

Because of speech-language pathologists' knowledge of oral and written language development, they are in a prime position to develop linkages between African American and Hispanic children's home and school experiences. The information gathered from this project will provide speech-language pathologists with information about African American and Hispanic parents' views about emergent literacy and children's book-reading experiences. In addition, a questionnaire and observation guide will be developed that can be used by speech-language pathologists to document the home literacy experiences of the African American and Hispanic children they serve. This will allow them to develop classroom and therapy activities that incorporate children's home experiences. It is hypothesized that this will support the children's emerging ability to read and promote early success in school.

Institute on Best Practices in Bilingual Speech Language Assessment
Sherry Allison & Christine Begay Vining
University of New Mexico, Health Sciences Center

The purpose of this project was to develop and sponsor an Institute focusing on state of the art bilingual assessment practices for children, preschool and elementary age, who are from Native American and Hispanic backgrounds. The project presented academic and clinical applications to thirty bilingual clinicians in the State of New Mexico, who are presently employed and certified as speech-language pathologists. The in-service curriculum was developed based upon needs identified through a focus group as well as data collected through a survey of bilingual clinicians throughout the State. The course was designed for clinicians, who speak Native American Languages or Spanish as their second or primary languages, and those who consider themselves to have native or near-native proficiency in the language other than English.

The educational program covered practical applications of bilingual assessment such as dynamic assessment, use of standardized and Spanish tests or assessment tools appropriate for New Mexican dialects, and use of interpreters in assessment. Practical solutions to commonly experienced challenges were discussed using case studies; and issues surrounding accountability, documentation, and bilingual competencies were explored.

The project participants attended a one-week institute and received an intensive in-service training on the literature and application of this knowledge. A training module comprised of a best practices manual that outlines the procedures and criteria for assessing Native American and Hispanic children with speech and language impairments was developed from this Institute.

La Familia: Developing Cultural Competency in Early Childhood Intervention
Susan Moore
University of Colorado

There is a significant need to prepare qualified speech-language pathologists to provide appropriate services to multicultural populations. This entails increasing the proportion of federally designated racial/ethnic minorities in the profession of speech-language pathology, including the number of proficient bilingual professionals that can meet the needs of the population whose first language is Spanish. It is important that all speech-language pathologists have a thorough understanding of difference versus disorder to prevent over-identification and referral of second language English learners into special education because of inappropriate biased assessments. It is also important for speech-language pathologists to develop competencies in understanding their own as well as others' values and beliefs, and to develop skills in moving beyond stereotypes to address cultural conflicts as they interrelate with service delivery models, family priorities and choices, and early intervention experiences.

The objectives of this project were to:

  • develop, implement, and evaluate a clinical education experience that emphasizes prevention, information sharing and family education, non-biased dynamic assessment, reciprocal learning about culture, and implementation of language enhancement strategies in home/community-based setting utilizing a consultative approach; and
  • develop training materials through documentation of identification and discussion of key cultural conflicts encountered in service provision and materials that illustrate culturally-based strengths and resources of families using video-vignettes and case study format.MSU/Cristo Rey Hearing Screening

MSU/Cristo Rey Hearing Screening Collaboration
Jill Elfenbein
Michigan State University

Although Michigan State University has a culturally diverse student body and faculty, the patient population at the on-campus clinic, the Oyer Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic, has limited diversity. The greater Lansing area has a large Hispanic community (a population of 23,000 people that increases by 3,000 when the migrant workers arrive). The Cristo Rey Community Center, founded in 1968, serves not only as a parish, but also as a source for education, health counseling and employment programs. The Center has a well-established health clinic, Head Start, senior citizen and migrant worker programs. Hearing screenings are available only to the children enrolled in Head Start. No hearing screenings are available for other children or for adults.

By virtue of their ages, the seniors are at high risk for hearing loss and the Head Start children are at high risk for otitis media. The migrant workers often have histories of minimal health care-care that did not include audiologic services. Members of the community may be unfamiliar with local hearing screening programs because educational campaigns often target individuals who speak English or can read Spanish. Individuals who are familiar with the services available may lack the transportation and funding required or may simply prefer to take a folk-medicine approach to dealing with hearing problems.

The objectives of this project were to:

  • establish a free hearing screening program (4 hours/week) at the Cristo Rey Community Center that served the Head Start and Senior programs, as well as the general community;
  • develop a consumer outreach campaign designed to meet the needs of communities that include individuals who are monolingual Spanish speakers who may not read Spanish,
  • provide student clinicians who are Hispanic with opportunities to work with patients from their own cultural group,
  • provide student clinicians who are Hispanic with opportunities to work with members of a cultural group other than their own, and
  • include participants in the Migrant Workers Program.

The Role of Ethnicity in Pragmatic Assessment: Clinical Applications
Brian Shulman
Seton Hall University

In order for speech-language pathologists to adequately differentiate a language disorder from a language difference, they must familiarize themselves with aspects of linguistic diversity. In other words, what are the characteristics of a language system that define diversity? Presently, there are no pragmatic assessment instruments that provide normative data for African American children let alone pragmatic data for other culturally and linguistically diverse pediatric populations. Thus, there is a clear need for this proposed project that will focus on obtaining quantitative and qualitative data on African American preschool children's performance on the Test of Pragmatic Skills-Revised (TOPS-R) instrument.

This project was also designed to examine the impact, if any, of the examiner's and child's ethnicity on administration of and performance on the TOPS-R. The project will have significant impact on currently practicing and future speech-language pathologists who serve children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Training of Speech-Language Pathologists in Multicultural Vocal Characteristics
Mary Andrianopoulos & Carol Sprague
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

The demographics in the United States are increasingly changing with respect to linguistic and cultural diversity factors of clients seen by clinicians for a voice evaluation. Language differences among linguistic and culturally diverse populations have been successfully incorporated into some graduate curricula in speech-language pathology. However, graduate instruction and training in voice science with respect to voice differences among linguistic and culturally diverse clients is grossly lacking and limited in scope to date. The diagnostic protocol and normative data currently available are based on phonatory function models conducted on large numbers of exclusively Caucasian speakers. Currently, clinicians are not adequately trained to interpret the influence of this normative data on assessment of other populations.

The project objectives were to:

  • enhance academic and clinical training of graduate student clinicians by developing infrastructure for use in classroom instruction and clinical practica regarding existing test biases of voice data and quantitative vocal characteristics which distinguish speakers on the base of age, gender, ethnic and cultural orientation;
  • train students to determine object vocal parameters of the acoustic signal that are most sensitive and reliable for identifying healthy speakers on the basis of ethnic-cultural and linguistic markers or differences,
  • advance clinical experiences for students and to establish a diagnostic protocol for assessing vocal health and voice differences conducive for linguistically and multiculturally diverse speakers, and
  • engage student researchers to collect objective normative data of vocal parameters form 5 homogeneous cultural groups comprised of male and female African American speakers of Ebonics, native Chinese speakers of Mandarin Chinese, Native Indian speakers of Hindi, native Puerto Rican Spanish speakers, and Caucasian speakers of English from Western New England regions.

1998-1999 Review Panel: Richard Adler, Lisa Alford, Nancy Eng, Ravi Nigam, Marlene Salas-Provance, Gari Smith, and Janice Wright

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