2011–2012 Projects on Multicultural Activities

Bilingual Early Language-Literacy Acquisition for Latino, Chinese, and Korean Children

Elizabeth Ijalba
Queens College 

Non-English-speaking parents of children with language and communication disorders are often confused about using the home language with their children. Limited access to literacy materials and restrictions on use of the home language result in impoverished linguistic home environments. Empowering parents to work with their children in their native language will impact language-literacy acquisition in the first language, increase effects of transfer on the learning of English, strengthen communication among family members, and train parents to be advocates on behalf of their children's education.

The objectives of the project were

  • to promote bilingualism as a human right for children with language and communication disorders;
  • to advance communication sciences by procuring and analyzing measures of bilingual language acquisition in children with language and communication disorders;
  • to develop a model parent-training program for the families of emergent-bilingual children with language and communication disorders, to give parents (a) tools and experiential knowledge to promote language and literacy and (b) communication strategies to use with their children in the home language and within the context of family interactions;
  • to train undergraduate speech-language pathology students to work with bilingual families and their children; to introduce students to applied clinical research.

A set of literacy materials with interactive picture components in each language was created. By participating in the parent education project, families learned about bilingualism and were reassured to communicate and to use early literacy activities in their home languages.

Cultural and Linguistic Guidelines for Language Evaluation of Arab-American Children Using the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF)

Reem Khamis-Dakwar
Adelphi University

The Arab American population in the United States has been showing a steady increase with a corresponding increase in the number of children referred for language assessment. Research on Arabic language development as a native language is sparse, and resources used for language assessment in the Arab world are mainly translated versions of English resources. Similarly, there is sparse literature on successive and simultaneous Arabic-English bilingual development that takes account of the diversity of place of origin with the Arab American population.

The project's objectives were (a) to raise the awareness of researchers and clinicians with respect to the linguistic and cultural aspect of Arabic-speaking communities in the United States. and in the Arab world and (b) to provide specific guidelines for analyzing the performance of Arabic-speaking children on the CELF-4.

An online resource [PDF] was developed to provide information about the Arabic culture, including detailed information about the phonetics and phonology, syllabic structure, morphology, syntax, pronoun clitics, negative construct state, relative clause, and Wh-questions of Gulf Arabic, North African Arabic, Levantine Arabic, and Egyptian Arabic. Information includes the possible differences that children from Arab-speaking communities may exhibit with respect to English language evaluation in general and the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals–4 ( CELF-4) in particular; as well as implications for clinical practice.

Graduate Level Online Bilingual Literacy Module

Charles Haynes, Massachusetts General Hospital
Institute of Health Professions

Many individuals who are bi- or multilingual English language learners (ELLs) are at significant risk for failing high stakes tests of literacy development. The goal of this project was to develop, pilot, and disseminate an online bilingual literacy (bi-literacy) training module that can be adapted to speech-language pathology graduate programs across the United States. The proposed module includes guidelines for how supervisors of bilingual placements can best help student clinicians to integrate research-based literacy practices in their respective bilingual settings. Module content topics include orthographic granularity and transparency, L1 diagnostic predictors of L2 literacy skills, morpho-syntactic and vocabulary contributions to reading comprehension, vocabulary interventions for ELLs, and challenges of selecting and adapting proper assessment tools.

The one-credit module is a stand-alone as well as an embedded course that introduces graduate students and SLPs to both theoretical and practical information about spoken-written language relationships in bi- and multi-lingual persons.

Increasing Communication Effectiveness Between Monolingual English-Speaking Audiologists and Their Spanish-Speaking Patients

Leigh Ann Reel
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Monolingual English-speaking audiologists must strive to improve their cultural and linguistic competence in order to be able to provide the same access to care and quality of services to all patients, regardless of their cultural or language background.

The objectives of this project were to

  • improve cultural competence of audiologists by disseminating a learning module related to cultural factors in the Hispanic population— the learning module will include evidence-based information, utilizing visual and auditory presentation of the materials;
  • ensure that reliable tests can be conducted by English-speaking audiologists serving the Spanish-speaking population—providing Spanish test descriptions/instructions and how to say this information in Spanish (instructions for otoscopy, tympanometry, acoustic reflexes and acoustic reflex decay, otoacoustic emissions, pure tone testing, and speech testing (SRT and WRS), ABR, ENG/VNG; parent instructions related to visual reinforcement audiometry and behavioral observation audiometry, and child-friendly instructions for otoscopy, tympanometry, otoacoustic emissions, body-part identification SRT (including Spanish translations of different body parts), and play audiology; 
  • provide Spanish-speaking populations with easy-to-understand information; 
  • obtain feedback from both Spanish-speaking individuals and from audiologists to ensure that the materials are appropriate in different regions of the state; 
  • utilize results to extend the project in the future to clinically based research projects to better serve the Spanish-speaking population.

Written translations were developed. Videos of a bilingual male reading the Spanish instructions for each test provided a model for monolingual audiologists to use as a tool to learn how to pronounce Spanish test instructions correctly. A cultural training module addressed introduction to cultural and linguistic competence, cultural beliefs and values impacting health care, language barriers in health care, considerations for working with Spanish-speaking patients, and resources for the monolingual audiologist.

2011–2012 Review Panel

Ana Claudia Harten
Candice Costa
Carolyn Higdon
D'Jaris Coles-White
Dolores Battle
Marlene Salas Provance
Monica Nahwegahbow

ASHA Corporate Partners