International Resources to Develop Cultural Competence

Speech-language pathologists and audiologists need to understand cultural and linguistic influencers on communication in order to

  • distinguish difference from disorder
  • provide clinically appropriate services.

Continued professional development of cultural competence in service delivery is critical.

We bring our own cultural norms to every exchange with clients, who come from an increasingly diverse population. Projections for the U.S. population by race and ethnicity reveal that there will no longer be a majority or dominant culture. Nearly one of every five individuals speak a language other than English in the home.

The world-wde web gives us opportunities to learn from other international organizations and our professional counterparts in other countries. ASHA has compiled a list of resources to help members develop cultural competence. Please send any additional resources to These resources can be books, videos, audio clips, journals, or websites.

Find out additional information and connect with colleagues by joining SIG 17: Global Issues In Communication Sciences and Related Disorders.

Tools to Increase Cultural Competence | Disability Awareness | Working and Studying Abroad | Articles

Tools to Increase Cultural Competence

A limited number of tools have been created specifically to develop cultural competence. These resources are available in a variety of formats.


The Child English Second Language Resource (CHESL) Centre

Books and Publications

The International Guide to Speech Acquisition
Sharynne McLeod

Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica Child Language Update March–April 2002

Multimedia Resources


AAC Market Cards in Ghana, West Africa for students with autism and intellectual disabilities

AAC Professional Development Day at Nkawkaw for Special Education Teachers

Articulation Tests for Ghana

Building Capacity: The Cleft Palate Speech Training Project Guatemala 2012

Narrative Stories Tutorial, adapted from Carol Grey's work on social stories

Smile Train: Smile Pinki Update

Organization and Member Groups

International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics

Standing Liaison Committee of Speech and Language Therapists/Logopedists in the European Union

Disability Awareness

Perception and awareness of disabilities are not universal. Many circumstances contribute to this.

  • Meeting basic needs (e.g., for food, water, etc.) can take priority over obtaining clinical services.
  • In some cultures, individuals with impairments do not seek services because they feel ashamed or fear judgment by others.
  • Services for the elderly may not be pursued if the cultural norm is to accept what are perceived as "typical" or "normal" aspects of the aging process. Although such attitudes can exist in any country, they may be more common in third world countries.

Awareness of disabilities and the value of services to remediate them are prerequisites to the demand for speech-language pathologists and audiologists. Campaigns have been developed to raise awareness.

World Health Organization | Disabilities

London SIG Bilingualism

Working and Studying Abroad

Working and studying abroad are excellent ways to develop cultural awareness and sensitivity to individuals from a variety of backgrounds. A number of communication science and disorder programs offer work/study abroad programs. These programs inform host countries about the professions and increase the cultural competence of U.S. participants.

Presentations on working abroad offer tips for working with individuals from host countries. However, it is important to remember that not all citizens of the same country share the same values, beliefs, and attributes. Rather, presentations provide guidelines regarding potential variations in value and belief systems.

Professional standards provide guidance for appropriate clinically and culturally competent services. Cultural competence is mandated for appropriate clinical services.

Communication Science Programs

Institutions with study abroad opportunites


"Working in American Samoa: What the book doesn't say" [PDF], California Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Professional Standards and Clinical Guidelines

IALP's Recommendations for Working with Bilingual Children [PDF]

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists: Communicating Quality Live 

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists: Good Practice for Speech and Language Therapists; Working With Clients From Linguistic Minority Communities [PDF]

Speech Pathology Australia Position Statement: Working in a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Society


Georgieva, D. (2001). Professional awareness of cluttering: A comparative study (Pt. 2). In H. Bosshardt, J. Yaruss & H. Peters (Eds). Fluency disorders: Theory, research, treatment and self-help. (pp. 630–635). Nijmegen: Nijmegen University Press.

Georgieva, D. (2008). Understanding cluttering: Eastern European traditions versus Western European and North American traditions. Bulgarian Journal of Communication Disorders, 2, 25–38.

Georgieva, D., & Fibiger, S. (2010). Intensive non-avoidance group therapy with adults stutterers: Experience from Bulgaria. Dansk Audiologopaedi, 3, 24–30.

Georgieva, D., & Miliev, D. (1996). Differential diagnosis of cluttering and stuttering in Bulgaria. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 21, 249–261.

St. Louis, K., Andrade, K., Georgieva, D., & Troudt, F. (2005). Experiencia e relato pessoal sobre pesquisa de cooperacao internacional—Brazil, Bulgaria e Turquia—que avalia as attitudes em relacao a guguera. Pro-Fono, 17, 413–416.

St. Louis, K., Filatova, Y., Coskun, M., Topbas, S., Ozdemir, S., Georgieva, D.,...George, R. (2010). Identification of cluttering and stuttering by the public in four countries. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 12, 508–519.

St. Louis, K., Filatova, Y., Coskun, M., Topbas, S., Ozdemir, S., Georgieva, D.,...George, R. (2011). Public attitudes toward cluttering and stuttering in four countries. In E. L. Simon (Ed.), Psychology of stereotypes (рр. 81–115). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.

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