Peer Reviewed Abstracts ACQ Vol 13 No 3 2011

Peer-Reviewed Abstracts - ACQ Vol 13, No 3. 2011


Working with children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds:
Implications for assessment and intervention

Cori Williams

Keywords: Bilingual, Cultural and Linguistic Diversity

Working with children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds is a far from simple matter. This paper represents an overview of the challenges faced by Australian speech pathologists who work within one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. The importance of a general understanding of cultural difference is highlighted, and a framework for thinking about culture is identified. Issues and evidence in the important areas of assessment and intervention with children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are discussed. Australian practioners are encourage to contribute practice-based evidence to support clinical practice and provide a foundation for research.


Cultural and linguistic diversity in Australian 4- to 5-year-old children and their parents

Sharynne McLeod

Keywords:  Children, Cultural and Linguistic Diversity, Multilingual, Speech and Language

This paper describes the cultural and linguistic diversity of Australian preschool children and their parents in order to guide resourcing, assessment, and intervention practices. Data were analysed from a nationally respresentative sample of 4983 Australian preschool children. Over one-fifth (21.9%) spoke English as their first language. The majority (86%) spoke English as their first language; and 12.2% of the children spoke one of the 35 other languages. AfterEnglish, the most common first languages were: Arabic (1.6%), Cantonese (1.3%), Vietnamese (1%), Greek (0.8%), and Mandarin (0.8%). Italian was the most common additional language, spoken by 2.9% of the children. Commonly spoken children's languages differed by state/territory and showed different trends compared with Australian census data. Most of the children's parents spoke English as the primary language at home (parent 1: 82.5%; parent 2:69.8%); however, 42 other primary languages were also spoken. Significant resourcing of the Australian speech pathology, early years education, and interpreting sectors is required to accomadate the diversecultural and linguistic heritage of children. Resourcing should be based on data about Australia's children, rather than the publicly available Australian census data. 


Examining culturally valid language assessments for Indigenous children

Petrea Cahir

Keywords: Aboriginal, Child Language Assessment, Cross-Culture, Indigenous, Speech Pathology

In 2008, the council of Australian Govenments (COAG) commited itself to reducing Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within one generation. Given the established links between language development, literacy, well-being, and life expectancy, the majority of COAG's endorsed areas of focus ("building blocks") relate directly to services provided by speech pathologists. Speech pathologists therefore invited to take their places in affording change to achieve this overall goal. A step towards sucessful provision of services is the application of valid and reliable assessment methodologies for a given population. The aim of this non-exhaustive literature review is to provide some of the evidence available to speech pathologists working with Indigenous children regarding culturally safe and valid cross-cultural communication asessments. It is hoped that speech pathologists will treat this review as an introductory resource when investigating relevant assessment options for culturally valid research and/or clinical practice.


Oral narratives produced by Aboriginal Australian children: Dilemmas with normative comparisons

Wendy Pearce and Emma Stockings

Keywords: Aboriginal Children, Cultural and Linguistic Diversity, Diagnosis, Language Difference, Oral Narrative

This study investigated the characteristics of oral narratives produced by six Aboriginal children aged between 6;6 and 9;6 years in North Queensland.Fictional narrative retellings were analysed at microstructure and macrostructure levels. Results were compared to a narrative story retell database included in the Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts software. Most children gained lower results on measures of narrative microstructure, such as mean length of C-unit and number of different words, but performed well on several measures of narrative structure, namely the Narrative Scoring Scheme (NSS) total score and component scores for Introduction, Character Development and Conclusion. Older children performed within normal limits, or better, on more NSS measures than the younger children. Implications for the development of appropriate assessment measures for Aboriginal children are discussed.


Working with Mandarian-speaking clients

Taiying Lee and Elaine Ballard

Keywords: Bilingualism, Clincal considerations, Mandarin, Phonological development

Immigration patterns in both New Zealand and Australia have changes significantly in the last 20 years with an increase of clients from a Mandarin-speaking background in clinical practice. Working with this population as a clinican can be both challenging and frustrating. In this paper weoutline some issues speech pathologist should be aware of in order to make their practice with clients from this background more effective. Our discussion will cover both linguistic and cultural considerations. We conclude with some thoughts on how best to work with this population.


Working with bilingual children who stutter and their families

Etain Wong, Linda Wilson, and Michelle Lincoln

Keywords: Bilingual Children, Families, Stuttering

Clinicians treating children who stutter and speak more than one language often face unfamiliar challenges. Generally speaking, clinicians do not speak all the languages of a client, yet stuttering occurs in all of the languages spoken by the child. Using three clinical case examples, this article describes common issues that may arise when working with bilingual children who stutter and their families. Some practical suggestions for overcoming these issues are provided.


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