2013–2014 Projects on Multicultural Activities

Addressing the Needs of Children with Limited English Proficiency During Speech Recognition Threshold Evaluation

Ishara Ramkissoon
University of South Alabama

Speech as a testing stimulus is significant, because it is applicable to everyday life conditions. An alternate speech reception threshold (SRT) test using paired digits as stimuli has been previously reported to accurately evaluate the hearing threshold for speech in non-native English-speaking adults and to closely match the pure tone average (PTA) threshold. Given the current clinical tools available, the population needs, and the limited number of audiologists who can speak non-English languages, it was proposed that the digit stimuli would be a suitable stimulus with cross-linguistic appeal for assessing SRT in children.

The goal of this project was to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of an alternate SRT test for measuring the hearing threshold for speech signals in children with limited English proficiency (LEP). The project evaluated the Digit-SRT test compared with the CID-W1 stimuli to measure SRT in African, Vietnamese, and Hispanic children with LEP and children who are native English speakers, in two test conditions, quiet and noise.

Surveys were mailed to research participants, their parents, and 16 local area audiologists who had received copies of the Digit-SRT test stimuli burned onto compact discs. Completed surveys will be analyzed to facilitate post-program evaluation of the project. Additional copies of the Digit SRT test stimuli have been made available to other audiologists upon request.

Professional Development to Support Educators Working Above the Arctic Circle

Mary Towle Harmon
Northern Arizona University

At present, there is a shortage of speech-language pathologists to serve school-age children. This shortage is even more pronounced in rural areas with higher numbers of culturally and linguistically diverse students and for districts in Pacific and Mountain states. Until adequate numbers of students in communication sciences and disorders are graduated and hired by administrators in these high need areas, a suitable means of training must be developed for personnel currently providing services to meet the language and academic needs. In an effort to provide support to the personnel working with the students receiving special education services and, more specifically, children identified as requiring speech-language services, this project investigated the use of current technology to deliver in-services to personnel working in a rural, geographically isolated, and undeserved school district located north of the Arctic Circle.

Of the students currently enrolled in the school district, 90% are Alaskan Native Inupiaq Eskimo. There are 11 schools in the district, with the majority of students' attending school in the surrounding villages, generally accessible by plane or snow mobile. One speech-language pathologist serves all children in the district.

The project was developed in collaboration with the special education director of the Northwest Arctic Borough School District in Kotzebue, Alaska. Teachers were given the opportunity to identify topics of interest. The format of the webinars allowed the teachers to ask questions of the presenters—either live or privately via e-mail.

Nine in-services were conducted remotely, using Collaborate, an online, interactive, and mobile learning tool available through Blackboard Learn. The objectives of the program were

  • to provide high-quality in-services—based on current evidence related to prevention of speech, language, and literacy concerns—to personnel working with special education students;
  • to provide high-quality in-services, based on current evidence related to addressing speech, language, and literacy concerns within the classroom.

Promoting a Global Mindset in CSD Internet-based Learning Course

A. Lynn Williams
East Tennessee State University

The universality of the Internet provides a practical avenue for delivering educational material related to global issues in communication sciences and disorders (CSD), as it offers remote access to anyone with an Internet connection access to the information at any time. The purpose of this project was to

  • develop an Internet-based learning course promoting a global mindset in CSD that incorporates learning though a series of PowerPoint lectures supplemented with learning materials, as well as webinars presented by internationally renowned faculty engaged in global research initiatives; 
  • establish a library of guest webinars by international researchers on global health and education issues to provide a global perspective of communication disorders.

At the conclusion of the project period, it was determined that additional time was needed to create the course for a suitable e-learning platform (i.e., moving from Wikispaces to a more accessible format, such as MOOC or Learnterest). Additional time was also needed to research and learn the best format for recording the speakers, as the original technology (i.e., Adobe Connect) was no longer available. A December 2015 date-for-completion has been identified.

Training SLPs in the Pacific: Assessment Tool for Hawaiian Creole

Christine Fiestas
University of Hawaii at Manoa

Hawaiian Creole (HC), called "pidgin" in Hawaii, is a creole language spoken by approximately 600,000 people. For speech-language pathologists (SLPs) who work in Hawaii, the assessment of children's language skills can be a challenging task, as the language backgrounds of many children (including those who speak HC) are not reflected on the normative sample of standardized language tests. For children who are culturally and linguistically diverse, language sample analysis (LSA) is a suggested method of language assessment to obtain ecologically valid data. This method provides information about a child's oral language skills and narrative skills that reflect oral language development in the elementary years.

The project objectives were to

  • develop an assessment tool for PK to 3rd grade children who use HC;
  • inform SLPs in graduate training about dialectal features of HC;
  • compare islands for potential differences in dialect features in HC;
  • train graduate-level clinicians to conduct the appropriate assessment of HC speakers using LSA;
  • extend assessment options for bilingual children by providing a sustainable framework for the continuing collection of English-language samples from children in Hawaii who speak other language combinations—Japanese, Chamorro, Tagalog, Ilocano, Korean, Samoan, Tongan, Hawaiian, Chuukese, Chamororro—but are receiving an education in English.

The analysis of the speech samples is being conducted for potential release on an upcoming version of the SALT (Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts) database.

Training to Enhance Services for ELLs (TESELL)

Brenda Gorman
Elmhurst College

Preschool teachers often have minimal training in language facilitation and scaffolding techniques and even more limited training in how to adapt these techniques to meet the unique needs of English language learners (ELLs). As language experts, speech-language pathologists (SLPs) can make a significant contribution to enhancing other professionals' ability to provide rich language stimulation to ELLs and to identify children at risk for language impairment who are not displaying sufficient language growth despite high quality input.

The purpose of this project was to help SLPs transfer knowledge to other professionals about best practices in evaluating and fostering language development in Spanish-speaking ELLs. The goal of the project was to develop a TESELL website (www.tesell.org) for posting instructional materials and resources, including a leader's guide, course PowerPoint presentations, participant assignments, course handouts, web-based seminars, a digital resource and therapy materials library, and a digital article archives (i.e., open-source articles related to diagnosis and mediation of language difficulties in Spanish-speaking and bilingual preschool children).

Modules include:

  • Module A: Normal stages of second language development and how bilingualism influences language, literacy, and cognitive development
  • Module B: Promoting successful teacher-child interactions with ELLs and participation at various proficiency stages
  • Module C: Strategies to facilitate and enhance peer-interactions in the classroom
  • Module D: Tips for monolinguals serving bilingual children
  • Module E: Considerations for language assessment of ELLs
  • Module F: Providing inclusive classroom interventions and differentiated instruction to meet the needs of struggling learners

2013–2014 Review Panel

Rajneet Bajnath
Kerry Danahy Ebert
Maria Claudia Franca
Reem Khamis-Dakwar
Sarah Konopka
June Levitt
Diane Frome Loeb
Amelia Medina
Carol Truett

ASHA Corporate Partners