1999-2000 Projects on Multicultural Activities

Collaborating with Interpreters and Translators in Assessing English Language Learners (ELL) Who May Have Speech-Language Impairments: Defining Best Practices
Henriette Langdon
San Jose State University

It is estimated that only 1,500 to 2,000 ASHA certified speech-language pathologists, less than 2% of the total ASHA membership, speak one or more languages in addition to English. The match between the clinician's language and that of the student is unlikely to occur when as many as 70 or 80 languages are represented in any one school district, as reported in California's schools, for example. A variety of languages is represented in any school district in the nation as well.

This project addresses issues related to bilingual assessment. The product of this research will enable the development of materials and strategies to improve practices followed in evaluating ELL students who need to be assessed in their primary language. Both monolingual and bilingual SLPs who do not share the student's primary language will have more accurate documentation available on how to work more effectively with interpreters/translators in assessing and evaluating the student.

Increasing Awareness: Communication Disorders Among Hispanics
Emilia Santo & Luis Riquelme
Riquelme & Santo Speech-Language Pathology, PC

The availability of speech-language pathology and audiology services in the greater New York area is among the best in the country, with clients/patients being served through both the private and public sectors. However, awareness of the need for communication disorders services remains poor, especially among the Hispanic population. In general, the process of language development and the nature of specific communication impairments are not well understood by the public at large. Racial/ethnic minority populations, especially those with limited English proficiency, are at even greater risk for limited knowledge in this area, due to reduced access to the mainstream media, differences in socialization patterns, and a variety of factors related to healthcare access (Reyes & Peterson, 1997).

The aim of this project is to create a series of public service announcements (PSAs) in Spanish, on communication disorders. These announcements will be broadcast with the aim of informing the listening audience about communication disorders and the availability of professional help for persons with speech-language or hearing difficulties. Three PSAs will be created- Communication Development and the Impact of Bilingualism, Communication Disorders: An Overview, and Hearing Disorders . Each 30-second PSA will include a brief description of the topic, a description of the professionals that can help, how to get help, and an acknowledgement of ASHA.

Phonological Characteristics of 4-5 year old Spanish and Spanish-English Speakers
Alejandro Brice & Linda Louko
University of Central Florida

The Hispanic population in the United States is projected to increase by 32 million individuals over the next 30 years, accounting for the second fastest-growing population, after Asians, in every region (Campbell, 1995). Seventy-four percent (74%) of the nation's Hispanics will reside in five states including Florida. Speech-language pathologists who are unaware of Spanish phonology and phonological development may misdiagnose client performance and be unable to provide the most appropriate treatment (Brice & de la Paz, 1994; Goldstein, 1995). While there are some Spanish articulation tests (e.g., Medida de Articulación en Español), one unpublished test (Iglesias, 1978), and one published Spanish test of phonological processes (Hodson, 1985), there remains a paucity of tools to assess Spanish phonology (Hodson, 1985; Iglesias, 1978).

The purpose of the project is to compare normal Spanish phonology in two groups of children: monolingual (Spanish speaking) and bilingual (Spanish-English speaking). The project will:

  • create a comprehensive assessment tool to identify phonological patterns in young Spanish speakers,
  • increase the knowledge base of information regarding the phonological systems of Spanish speaking (monolingual) and Spanish-English speaking (bilingual) children,
  • disseminate information to speech-language pathologists to assist them in making appropriate diagnoses and interventions for Spanish speaking and Spanish-English speaking children, and
  • increase the proportion of Hispanics or Latino students in the professions of speech-language pathology through direct involvement in this research project (i.e., a Master's theses or directed research project).

Project CLASS: Classroom-based Language Services for Multicultural Populations
Yvette Hyter
Western Michigan University

Descriptions of the pragmatic skills of typically developing African American children are negligently scarce; therefore, a significant need exists for more data on this population. Early referral and identification of children at-risk for language learning difficulties lead to early intervention and the subsequent reduction in academic and social problems (Rice & Wilcox, 1995). Consequently, speech-language pathologists have difficulty differentiating typically developing pragmatic skills from those that are problematic, and educators have difficulty making appropriate referrals for services. These difficulties result in some children being identified as needing speech-language services when in fact they may not, and result in others not being identified when they do require services.

This project is guided by four objectives:

  • collect/analyze data on social communicative (pragmatic) skills of typically developing African American preschool children and those suspected of having language difficulties;
  • provide practica experiences designed to develop skills in collaborating, enhancing language in a preschool classroom, serving culturally diverse children, and conducting clinically relevant research;
  • develop a clinical tool for examining social communicative interactions of African American children; and
  • disseminate information about Project CLASS at local and national levels.

YUP'IK Baby Book Project
Patricia Olmstead & Maureen Harwood
Family Infant Toddler Program

There are currently no baby books for children ages birth to three years that are produced in the Yup'ik Eskimo language or that have pictures that reinforce the cultural identify of children living in the service boundary area of the Family Infant Toddler Program. Existing baby books usually contain pictures of cars, bikes, farm animals, and family members doing activities that families here are often not exposed to on a daily basis. The family photos do not look like families who live in this region.
More children and their families will be impacted by a quality product rather than handmade picture books. The production of well-made Yup'ik books will encourage improved reading, speech-language and social skills in children living in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Region of Alaska. More importantly, we will be enhancing the self esteem of these children and their families. It is our position that if we encourage parents to read to their young children and if we offer books that reinforce their home language and cultural identity, these parents would be more prone to read to their children and to encourage their children to be readers.

1999-2000 Review Panel: Catherine Clark, Catherine J. Crowley, Ellen Fye, Antony Joseph, Edgarita Long, Michele Walker

ASHA Corporate Partners