2014–2015 Projects on Multicultural Activities

Effects of Nonlinear Frequency Compression on Performance of Individuals who Speak Mandarin Chinese and Have Hearing Loss
Erin Schafer, University of North Texas

Recent hearing aid research has focused on improving the audibility of high-frequency speech sounds (> 4000 Hz), which are often inaudible with traditional high-gain hearing aids. One approach to achieving improved high-frequency audibility is the use of nonlinear frequency compression (NLFC) algorithms, which compress high-frequency information into a mid- to low-frequency region below a specified cutoff frequency and maintain normal amplification in lower frequencies.

Results of several studies support the use of NLFC over traditional amplification for improving speech recognition and sound quality of speech in children and adults with hearing loss who speak English. However, to date, there are few, if any, publications on the effect of NLFC on non-English speakers with hearing loss. Because of the grammatical and tonal differences between Mandarin Chinese and English, it is not possible to extend research data from individuals who speak English to those who speak Mandarin Chinese. The proposed project aimed to answer the following research question: Does compression of high-frequency regions significantly impact speech recognition and subjective perceptions of individuals who speak Mandarin Chinese?

The project objectives were as follows:

  1. To provide evidence-based recommendations regarding the efficacy of two amplification schemes for individuals who speak Mandarin Chinese as a primary language
  2. To provide evidence-based recommendations regarding the effectiveness of two amplification schemes for individuals who have Mandarin Chinese as a primary language
  3. To improve overall communication abilities of speakers of Mandarin Chinese who have sensorineural hearing loss
  4. To disseminate study results to advocate for minority groups and increase awareness of multicultural issues

Increasing Cultural Competence with LGBTQ Parents and Their Children: An IPE Approach
Pamela Mitchell, Kent State University

Already a cultural minority, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) parents and their children are also more likely to represent racial and ethnic minorities, and to be more likely than couples who are not LGBTQ to have incomes at or near the poverty level. These families are characterized by economic, cultural, racial, and ethnic diversity, and are frequently subject to overt discrimination or micro-inequities; thus, they warrant cultural knowledge and sensitivity from education and health care providers. Practicing speech-language pathologists (SLPs) must be attentive to fostering welcoming environments for LGBTQ individuals and their families, and there is broadening recognition that improvements are greatly needed. This issue is not isolated to speech-language pathology but exists across a variety of education and health care settings.

Resources are needed to assist higher education faculty in preparing entry-level SLPs and individuals in related disciplines to be culturally competent with LGBTQ parents and their children. Issues such as disclosure, terminology/labels, heterosexual bias in language and documents, overt discrimination, micro-inequities, and teasing/taunting are among key areas that warrant attention.

This project addressed the need for increased attention to LGBTQ issues in pre-service preparation for SLP graduate students and those in related academic disciplines of Early Childhood Education and Special Education. Two instructional modules were developed to support pre-service education for students in these and related disciplines to work with LGBTQ parents and their children.

Preparing Read it Again—Dual Language for On-Line Dissemination
Lillian Duran, Utah State University

The first purpose of the project was to finalize the development of the new preschool language and literacy Read It Again–Dual Language (RIA-DL) curriculum and to post it on the My Read It Again website where it has been made available as a free download. The second purpose of the project was to implement RIA-DL in rural Head Start programs in Utah that serve large populations of Spanish-speaking preschoolers and to collect fidelity and usability data.

Thirty weeks of lessons were developed in Spanish and English and posted on the Read it Again website. This quasi-experimental study involved implementing the RIA-DL curriculum with forty-one 3-, 4-, and 5-year-old Spanish–English bilinguals enrolled in Head Start classrooms with bilingual staff. Three classrooms with 27 bilingual children served as the control group. In the treatment group, 11 weeks of the curriculum were implemented 4 times a week in English and Spanish for 15–20 minutes per session. The control group participated in status quo literacy instruction. Teachers videotaped themselves delivering lessons once a week to check for fidelity.

The children were measured with a researcher-developed, curriculum-based vocabulary probe (CBVP) in English and Spanish. The CBVP included both a one-word picture-naming task and a definitional vocabulary task to measure Tier 2 words that were harder to depict, such as influence. The Spanish and English Individual Growth and Development Indicators, the Pre-IPT, and the Expressive One Word Vocabulary Picture Test–Spanish-Bilingual Edition (EOWVPT-SBE) were also administered to the participants.

Significant effects on the English CBVP in the treatment group were found, even though the control group had significantly higher English language skills at pre-test. The English-speaking teachers implemented the curriculum with higher fidelity than did the Spanish-speaking teachers.

Socialization of Young Children from Mexican Families
Lauren Cycyk, Temple University

The number of Latino children in the United States has grown nearly 40% over the last decade to represent approximately one quarter of all individuals under the age of 18. Children of Mexican descent comprise the greatest proportion of this population. In order to provide effective early intervention services, integration of Mexican families' cultural values and practices is recommended. However, SLPs across settings report reduced confidence when working with Spanish-speaking families. Their limited knowledge regarding the home culture and its impact on typical development is often cited as one underlying reason. Consequently, SLPs require increased access to information on the everyday child-rearing experiences of the families of Mexican toddlers so as to best serve this burgeoning population.

The overall goal of this project was to contribute to the evidence -base available to SLPs working with Mexican populations. Three specific goals were as follows:

  • To investigate the child-rearing beliefs and values of Mexican mothers related to language and learning
  • To describe the varied home interactional experience of their toddlers, including the contributions of other household members besides children's mothers
  • To compare the child-rearing beliefs and practices of mothers on the basis of their acculturation level

Participants included 24 families of Mexican descent who use Spanish in the home with their typically developing 18- to 24-month-old children. Data collection with these families included semi-structured interviews with the children's mothers, measures of maternal acculturation and child language, and recordings of the children's home language experiences.

2014 Review Panel

Rosa Abreu
Elizabeth Ijalba
Ella Inglebret
Nancy Lewis
Irene Torres

ASHA Corporate Partners