2016 Projects on Multicultural Activities

¡Comunico con mi Equipo!

Robert C. Fifer, University of Miami

Research has shown that augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) can significantly increase self-expression, decrease behavior challenges, and improve overall communication in children with developmental disorders. ¡Comunico con mi equipo! is a web-based resource to provide Spanish-speaking parents with information about AAC in their native language. The goal of the project was to foster AAC use at home for children with complex communication needs. 

Research also suggests that parents need ongoing support, training, and information in their preferred language regarding applications and uses of AAC in the home. Parental involvement is vital to both the introduction and implementation of AAC. Familial culture is an important factor contributing to AAC attitudes and beliefs as well as to successful adoption and use of the device. Although parents from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds recognize the importance of the AAC device for social and academic situations, they do not necessarily see the need to use AAC at home.

The goals and objectives of the project were as follows:

Objective 1: Develop three short video demonstrations in Spanish to provide Spanish-speaking families with a general overview of AAC and basic strategies for AAC use that support the home language.

  • Video 1 explains to parents how research suggests maintaining the home language and the importance of the quality of language that children are exposed to.
  • Video 2 explains and demonstrates examples of low-tech AAC options.
  • Video 3 explains and demonstrates examples of high-tech devices.

Objective 2: Develop a downloadable instruction guide in Spanish on communication strategies for AAC use at home.

Objective 3: Disseminate AAC information (FAAST website, workshops) to parents and professionals to increase knowledge and awareness of the benefits of AAC for children from Spanish-speaking families.

Differential Diagnosis of Stuttering in Bilingual Spanish–English Speaking Children


Courtney Byrd, University of Texas–Austin 
Kia N. Johnson, University of Houston

Did not complete.

Intensive Literacy Enrichment Activities for Diverse Populations (I-LEAD): A Summer Literacy Program for Low-Income Children With Hearing Loss 

Sharlene Wilson Ottley, Chattering Children 

Children from low-income backgrounds often enter school lacking the fundamental skills necessary for success when compared with their peers from more affluent backgrounds. Experiences with books and print in the home lay the foundation for these skills. Children from low-income backgrounds often have less frequent access to print materials and fewer opportunities to be exposed to rich vocabulary in the home environment, placing them at risk for difficulties in reading and other academic areas when they enter formal schooling.

Children with hearing loss (HL) are at risk for delays in vocabulary development due to lack of auditory access early in their development. Given the increased risk of vocabulary delay secondary to HL, as well as the challenges associated with access to print and rich language experiences for children from low-SES backgrounds, there is great need to improve the services that are available for children with HL from low-income backgrounds in order to improve vocabulary and later academic outcomes.

The purpose of this project was to meet the needs of diverse populations with HL from low-income backgrounds by employing interactive reading techniques in order to improve overall receptive and expressive language skills. Specifically, the objectives were as follows:

  1. Develop materials for the intervention program.
  2. Provide educators and speech-language pathologists (SLPs) with training required to employ interactive reading techniques with a variety of students from low-income backgrounds.
  3. Pilot the language intervention program with a small group of children with HL from low-income backgrounds to determine efficacy.
  4. Provide parents with strategies and opportunities to implement the interactive reading techniques to be used in the home environment.
  5. Disseminate results in professional conferences and seminars designed for educators and SLPs, and publish findings in scholarly works.

Thirteen children were identified to participate in the program. Results revealed significant differences between pre- and post-testing on the informal receptive vocabulary measure. Post-assessments of the formal vocabulary assessments are currently being collected in addition to the informal receptive and expressive measures in order to determine if vocabulary knowledge and use was maintained with the target vocabulary words over time.

Intrinsic Motivation Through Cultural Interactive Storytelling—Increasing Literacy Skills in Young African American Males at Risk for or Experiencing Language and Literacy Delays 

Shameka Johnson, Howard University

African American (AA) males have consistently performed significantly lower than their peers of varying races in the area of literacy, resulting in large achievement gaps between AA males and peers from other cultures. The purpose of this project was to enhance the language and literacy skills of AA males at risk for or presenting with reading delays. This study aimed to increase the intrinsic motivation of participants in order to develop and retain their language and literacy skills. 

The project included 10 males ages 6–8 years who were enrolled in a Title I school located in Washington, DC. The student population was 98% AA. Selection criteria included the following:

  1. Demonstrated functional comprehension skills
  2. Documented delays in literacy skills 
  3. Not currently enrolled in speech therapy or reading intervention programs
  4. No documented cognitive or hearing disorder

Findings revealed that approximately 50% of the participants demonstrated an increase in sight-word recognition post-intervention. Participants demonstrated difficulty with reading comprehension and WH-questions secondary to unidentified lack of phonological awareness (PA) skills. Although students did well on identifying some sight-words and decoding some words, they did not have the PA skills to produce rhyming words or recognize words that were not already rote to them. This in turn affected their ability to summarize information consistently in the format expected. In addition, although participants reported high intrinsic motivation to read and for reading to others, their standardized test scores and results from pre to post intervention methodologies did not correlate. 

2016 Review Panel

Rosa A. Abreu 
Kimberly C. Edmonds 
Esther H. Gerrad 
Mona R. Griffer 
Diane M. Scott 
Debra C. Vigil 

ASHA Corporate Partners