SP in Schools project 2017 Low Res V2

Children from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds (CALD) 9 )

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2017), many Australians do not speak English at home; indeed in 2016, 72.7% of Australians spoke only English at home. The most frequently spoken other languages included Mandarin 2.5%, Arabic 1.4%, Cantonese 1.2%, Vietnamese 1.2% and Italian 1.2%. In 2016, 66.7% of people were born in Australia, whereas 34.4% of people had both parents born overseas. To remain relevant and effective in the changing landscape of the Australian population, it is essential that your speech pathology services are informed with sound knowledge and equipped with the appropriate resources to support students from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. It is also important to undertake culturally sensitive services when working with Indigenous Australian students. This will include awareness of local (vs. individual students’) Indigenous knowledge, customs, and approaches to learning, education and health care. Speech pathologists need to be aware of the features of Aboriginal English compared with standard Australian English and acknowledge that for some children English (or Aboriginal English) may not be a student’s first language, but may be one of eight languages spoken (McLeod, Verdon, & Bennetts Kneebone, 2014). Verdon (2015) outlines six key principles for speech pathologists to undertake culturally competent practice. These are: 1) getting to know yourself; 2) knowing and forming relationships with families and communities; 3) setting mutually motivating goals; 4) using appropriate tools and resources; 5) collaborating with other key people, and 6) being flexible: one size does not fit all. Speech Pathology Australia (2016 a, b) has published clinical guidelines and a position paper titled Working in a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Society that provides resources, and additional resources are found below. Prior to planning assessment and intervention, you will need to undertake a comprehensive case history with individuals and/or their

family. Additional information is required from individuals from CALD backgrounds including a comprehensive language profile and information about their beliefs, concerns and reasons for seeking help as these may differ from dominant western perspectives on health and disability. Case history information should be obtained in a culturally respectful and ethical way. Often family members are asked to complete a case history form. However, this may not be appropriate as families may not read or speak English fluently or understand western medical questions and concepts. The use of an interpreter, multicultural worker, or cultural broker from the family’s cultural background may be required in order to make families feel more comfortable in the clinical setting, to explain concepts and to accurately collect case history information during an interview. Once you are aware of a student’s specific language and culture from the information collected in the case history interview, you should obtain information about the features of significant cultural and linguistic influences, as well as the typical developmental characteristics of the language(s)/dialect(s) that are spoken or signed. When explaining the assessment and intervention process to the family, you should be sensitive to their reactions. In certain cultures it may be offensive or cause “shame” to challenge a person’s abilities or to use a label to diagnose difficulties. Therefore, cultural knowledge and understanding on your part is essential for engaging in culturally competent practice with diverse families. When assessing multilingual speakers it is important to distinguish between an underlying speech and/or language disorder (which can be expected to affect learning in the home language(s) as well as English) and language differences which arise from learning a second language. Determining whether speech and language learning difficulties are evident in each language is most appropriate for the identification of speech and/or language disorder in people from CALD backgrounds. Practical considerations may, however, make this difficult.

9 It takes up to 5–7 years of exposure to a second language in order to be able to adequately complete standardised testing; hence, there is a need to use other forms of assessment (criterion referenced procedures, observation, language sampling, dynamic assessment) for children who are learning English as an additional language (Roseberry-McKibbin, 2007).


Speech Pathology Australia: Speech Pathology in Schools Project

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