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Culturally Appropriate Practices for Facilitating Early Language Development of Indigenous Children

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Title: Culturally Appropriate Practices for Facilitating Early Language Development of Indigenous Children


1
Culturally Appropriate Practices for
Facilitating Early Language Development of
Indigenous Children
Culturally Appropriate Practices for
Facilitating Early Language Development of
Indigenous Children
  • Jessica Ball
  • Marlene Lewis
  • Early Childhood Development Intercultural
    Partnerships
  • School of Child and Youth Care
  • University of Victoria
  • Human Early Learning Partnership

Jessica Ball Marlene Lewis Early Childhood
Development Intercultural Partnerships School of
Child and Youth Care University of Victoria
2
HELP Mandate To create, promote apply new
knowledge through interdisciplinary research to
help children thrive. ECDIP Mission To expand
knowledge capacity for supporting Indigenous
childrens health and development in community
contexts Our focus in this project To expand
knowledge capacity for facilitating young
Indigenous childrens language development in
community contexts Thanks to SLP respondents
and Sharla Peltier, Patricia Carey, Dr. Judith
Johnston, Dr. Ken Moselle, Anne Hanson-Finger,
Christina El Gazaar, Deanne Zeidler, Valerie
Irvine and Kevin Morris.
3
Many Aboriginal groups in Canada are seeking to
facilitate optimal development of Aboriginal
children through high quality, culturally guided
early childhood care and development programs
(Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, 1996)
Negative effects of lack of service or
ineffective and culturally discordant services
(British Columbia Aboriginal Network on
Disability Society, 1996)
4
Survey of SLP reflections on practice
  • SLPs across Canada were asked to complete a
    survey if they
  • had experience serving Indigenous children. The
    survey was
  • designed to learn more about
  • access to services
  • appropriate training
  • appropriate tools and models (assessment
  • methods, service delivery models...)
  • readiness to work in or with community
  • perceived efficacy
  • needs
  • recommendations
  • Survey repondents were recruited through CASLPA
    and through provincial representatives.

5
Respondents
  • 70 completed surveys were submitted on-line or
    by mail
  • 27 long, 43 short
  • 2 First Nations
  • 3 visible minorities

6
(No Transcript)
7
Age and location of children served amount of
service
  • Age - all respondents
  • had some experience working with
  • Indigenous children under nine years of age
  • 84 had worked with Indigenous
  • children 0-5 years
  • 37 reported spending All or A lot
  • of their time working with Indigenous children in
    the past two years
  • 29 reported spending Some of their time in
    the past two
  • years working with Indigenous children
  • Location - respondents provided services almost
    equally in rural and remote communities and a bit
    less in urban communities

8
Findings - Caveat
  • Generalizations must be
  • taken cautiously
  • Lots of variability across children, families,
    Indigenous communities with regards to language
    development, experiences,
  • beliefs, values and traditions
  • This is a study of SLP perceptions a 2nd
    concurrent study involves interviewing First
    Nations Elders and parents for their views on
    supporting language development in ways they
    think are best

9
  • Readiness to work in or with community
  • SLPs perceived that their skills in language,
  • social communication, pre-literacy and
  • early literacy made them well suited for
  • supporting Indigenous children including
  • normatively developing children
  • children with delayed and disordered language
  • children learning their Mother Tongue language
  • children learning English as a second dialect.

10
HOWEVER... need to take an altogether different
approach
Survey question Do you think SLPs need to
take an altogether different approach when
serving Indigenous communities?
60
79 of respondents perceived a need to take an
altogether different approach when serving
Indigenous communities
50
40
30
20
10
Count
0
YES
NO
SLP's Need to Take a Different Approach
11
Approach
  • Five themes constructed from analyses of survey
    responses
  • Primacy of services being family community
    driven
  • Importance of including a population-based
    approach
  • Goal of strengthening community capacity
  • Perceptions of value of talk in Indigenous
    communities distinct from European-heritage
    orientation to language socialization
  • Importance of building relationships and trust

12
Population-based and capacity building approach
favored over direct clinical services
Amount of Time Spent in Different Types of
Interventions with Indigenous
Children and Families
Community education re development of speech
language skills
Caregiver education to teach general facilitation
techniques
Caregiver education re needs of specific children
Indirect (mediator) model with collaborative
consultation
Direct group therapy
Direct clinical group training blending care-
giver mentoring and SLP treatment
Mentoring and skill develop-ment training for
caregivers
Direct one-to-one therapy
Median ratings on amount of time and effort 1
None /2 Little /3 Some /4 Major
13
Recommended educational/intervention approaches
to best suit cultural values, beliefs and
priorities of Indigenous families
Median ratings on most appropriate
educational/intervention approaches 1 least
suited/ 5 most suited
14
How SLP became engaged with Indigenous communities
SLP respondents were usually engaged in
providing services as a result of referral for
individual children (69) Reflects perhaps a
limited understanding in communities and agencies
of the potential benefits of SLP contributions at
a population-based, capacity-building level.
15
Family and community driven programs and services
  • 64 of respondents reported on
  • importance of
  • developing and providing programs and services
    that are family and community driven
  • learning about cultural beliefs, practices and
    way of being of the families and communities
    served
  • being aware of diversity

16
Perceptions of the value of talk and language
socialization practices
  • Recurrent themes in the perceptions of SLPs
    regarding
  • distinctive features in the social use of
    language were
  • a quiet and reflective nature in children appears
    to be preferred
  • by caregivers
  • children present as quiet and reflective
  • talk appears to be reserved for important matters
    in social interactions

17
  • a lot of talking as well as children initiating
    talking or asking questions is discouraged
  • children reluctant to talk with adults
  • reticent about answering questions
  • unlikely to talk about themselves
  • make minimal eye contact
  • engage in less frequent verbal dialogue and
    verbal turn taking experiences than European
    heritage children

18
  • listening and observing appear to be highly
    valued
  • children learn through
  • listening, observing,
  • doing and being included
  • in family and community
  • activities, more than by
  • verbally processing their
  • experiences and asking
  • questions.

19
  • parents hover less and encourage pre-school
    childrens self-directed play and peer group
    socialization more than language mediated
    adult-child interactions
  • children respond well to interactions involving
    doing things together, and to peer interaction
  • they respond well to
  • slower talk,
  • more pausing,
  • sharing information
  • and storytelling

20
  • characterized by some respondents as late
    talkers
  • parents believe that children will talk when they
    are ready
  • content, goals and fast-paced atmosphere in
    mainstream preschool and school settings seem
    mismatched with Indigenous childrens
    experiences, understanding and expression

21
  • These perceptions are evocative of a
  • conceptual distinction made between
  • societies in which children are thought
  • to grow up and those in which
  • children are raised or brought up
  • parents who believe children must be raised
    engage in a distinct set of verbalizations with
    their children
  • parents who believe children grow up make fewer
    attempts at dialogue with their young child, and
    are less likely to prompt their child to recount
    events in order to practice verbal communication

22
SLP Evaluation How important is it for
Indigenous parents and other caregivers that
their young children learn their Mother Tongue?
SLP Evaluation How important is it for
Indigenous parents and other caregivers that
their young children learn English or French?
23
  • possible that SLPs infer low value on language
    learning as an interpretation of differences in
    the value of talk and socialization of language
    use (eg. high contrast, low frequency activity)
  • Other evidence about Indigenous
  • peoples language use suggests that
  • talk is highly valued in particular
  • contexts, by particular people, with
  • particular intentions
  • European-heritage parents tend to utilize and
    encourage frequent verbal discourse, including
    child-initiated discourse with adults, to serve a
    variety of functions (eg. low contrast, high
    frequency activity)

24
  • If there are indeed significant differences
  • between Indigenous and non-Indigenous
  • parents language socialization and
  • expectations for their childrens talk,
  • then some respondents comments that
  • the content, goals and fast-paced
  • atmosphere in mainstream preschools
  • school settings are mismatched
  • with Indigenous goals for childrens
  • language use and Indigenous childrens
  • quietness, are particularly meaningful.


25
  • Indeed, there may be a
  • strong cultural bias in
  • mainstream SLP practice, early
  • childhood education programs
  • and school-based practices
  • appreciate risks some
  • Indigenous parents may feel in
  • accessing mainstream
  • education, speech-language
  • programs, and other services.

26
Relationship of findings to Aboriginal experience
in Australia
  • Aboriginal English described as main language of
    80 of Aboriginal Australians
  • differs from European-heritage English in its
    phonology, syntax, pragmatics, discourse
    structure and lexico-semantic system (Malcolm et
    al. 1999)
  • similar differences reported by SLPs in current
    study
  • educational difficulties faced by Aboriginal
    children in Australia
  • linked to cultural and linguistic differences
    between the home
  • and school (Walton 1993)

27
Mother Tongue language
  • Mother Tongue typically not incorporated into
    SLP services
  • if given help from speakers of a childs Mother
    Tongue, would
  • be eager to incorporate it and could have a role
    in supporting children learning and using their
    Mother Tongue
  • encourage parents to maintain their
  • dominant language used at home often
  • is Mother Tongue, especially in rural
  • and remote areas
  • cited positive contributions that learning
  • Mother Tongue can make to a childs sense
  • of connection to community and to self-esteem.

28
Inadequate funding and inappropriate services
Respondents overwhelmingly indicated that funding
for Early Childhood Development services and for
SLP services are inadequate in the settings
that they have observed.
29
Need for new education and intervention strategies
SLP Evaluation How important is it to create
new educational/ intervention tools specifically
for Indigenous children?
76 of the respondents perceived that it is
important or very important to develop new
education and intervention strategies
specifically for Indigenous children
30
Need for new assessment tools
SLP Evaluation How important is it to create
new assessment tools specifically for
Indigenous children?
57 of respondents reported that it was important
or very important to develop new assessment tools
specifically for Indigenous children.
31
Need for new screening tools
SLP Evaluation How important is it to create
new screening tools specifically for Indigenous
children?
59 of respondents reported that it was
important or very important to develop new
screening tools specifically for Indigenous
children
32
Need for new tools to monitor overall child
development
SLP Evaluation How important is it to create
new tools for monitoring overall child
development specifically for Indigenous
children?
41 reported that it was important or very
important to develop new tools for monitoring
overall child development
33
Knowledge capacity Implications for training
34
Improving knowledge to serve Indigenous families
and communities in culturally appropriate ways
  • To deliver more culturally
  • appropriate services, respondents
  • believed that it was
  • most important to learn from the
  • families being served
  • also very important to learn from
  • representatives, Elders, Indigenous mentors
    within the Indigenous community as well as
    conferences and workshops

35
Cultural and language competencies of SLPs
  • Requires working in collaboration and with
    support of one or more people in the community
    who are proficient or nearly proficient in the
    Native language/dialect and who are from the same
    cultural background as the client to be able to
    provide effective and culturally appropriate
    services (CASLPA, Speech Pathology Australia)
  • 4 of respondents reported obtaining feedback
    from Indigenous peoples regarding tools they used
    for screening, 4 re assessment tools and 36 re
    intervention tools/methods (reflects missed
    opportunities for cultural guidance?)

36
Summary and conclusions
  • Taken together, descriptions by SLP respondents
    conveyed a
  • clear impression of the importance of
  • providing services that are driven by the values
    and wishes of the families and communities in
    which the children live
  • learning about and understanding the culture
  • building capacity within families and communities
  • establishing positive and trusting relationships
    with Indigenous parents, caregivers and people
    trusted in the childs community

37
Further research
  • Understand more about what Indigenous parents
    believe is important for their children
    to learn and how
  • What kinds of tools and training would be useful
    to help guide the practice of family and
    community driven services?
  • Given the variability that exists within and
    across Indigenous communities, can tools and
    methods for screening, assessment and
    intervention that are reflective of Indigenous
    values, beliefs and experiences be developed?
  • How might the professions of SLP and Audiology
    attract more Indigenous people to the
    professions?

38
Positive and Trusting Relationships
  • SLP respondents in the current study consistently
    pointed to
  • the importance of establishing positive and
    trusting relationships
  • with Indigenous caregivers of Indigenous
    children, and with
  • people who are trusted within the Indigenous
    community to
  • which the child belongs. This requires
  • a consistent presence in the community
  • patience
  • time
  • flexibility
  • understanding
  • a desire to learn

39
For more information on this and related
studies ecdip.org Dr. Jessica Ball
jball_at_uvic.ca Marlene Lewis mmlewis_at_shaw.ca
40
Selected References
  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
    (1985). Position Statement Clinical Management
    of Communicatively Handicapped Minority Language
    Populations. Asha, 27 (6)
  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
    (2004). Knowledge and Skills Needed by
    Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists to
    Provide Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate
    Services. ASHA Supplement 24 (in press).
  • Ball, J. (2002). The challenge of creating an
    optimal learning environment in child care
    Cross-cultural perspectives. In L. Girolometto
    E. Weitzman (Eds.) Enhancing caregiver language
    facilitation in child care settings. Proceedings
    from a Symposium of the Canadian Language and
    Literacy Research Network, Toronto, October 18,
    2002.

41
  • British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability
    Society (BCANDS) (1996). Identification of
    barriers to post-secondary training and
    employment. Vancouver, BC.
  • Canadian Association of Speech-Langauge
    Pathologists and Audiologists (2002). CASLPA
    Position Paper on Speech-Langauge Pathology and
    Audiology in the Multicultural, Multilingual
    Context. http//www.caslpa.ca/english/resources/mu
    lticult.asp
  • Chao, R. (1996). Chinese and European American
    mothers beliefs about the role of parenting in
    childrens school success. Journal of
    Cross-Cultural Psychology, 27, 403-423.
  • Crago, M. (1992). Ethnography and language
    socialization A cross-cultural perspective.
    Topics in Language Disorders, 12(3), 28-39.

42
  • Heath, S. (1983). Ways with words Language, Life
    and work in communities and classrooms.
    Cambridge Cambridge University Press.
  • Johnston, J., Wong, M.-Y. A. (2002). Cultural
    Differences in Beliefs and Practices Concerning
    Talk to Children. Journal of Speech, Language,
    and Hearing Research, 45.
  • Malcolm, I., Haig, Y., Konigsberg, P.,
    Rochecouste, J., Collard, G., Hill,A., Cahill,
    R. (1999a). Two way English. Towards more
    user-friendly education for speakers of
    Aboriginal English. Perth Education
    Department of Western Australia.
  • Malcolm, I., Haig, Y., Konigsberg, P.,
    Rochecouste, J., Collard, G., Hill,A., Cahill,
    R. (1999b). Towards more user-friendly
    education for speakers of Aboriginal English.
    Perth Centre for Applied Language and Literacy
    Research.

43
  • Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996).
    Gathering strength Report on the Royal
    Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, Vol. 13.
    Ottawa Canada Communication Group Publishing.
  • Speech Pathology Australia. Speech Pathologists
    working in Early Intervention Programs with
    Aboriginal Australians. Fact Sheet 2.4.
  • Walton, C., (1993). Aboriginal education in
    Northern Australia A case study of literacy
    policies and practices In P. Freebody A. R.
    Welch (Eds.). Knowledge, culture and power
    international perspectives on literacy as policy
    and practice. Pittsburgh, PA University of
    Pittsburgh Press.
  • Van Kleek, A,. (1994). Potential cultural bias in
    training parents as conversational partners with
    their children who have delays in language
    development. American Journal of Speech-Language
    Pathology, January, 67-78.

44
  • Warr-Leeper, G.A. (2001). A review of early
    intervention programs and effectiveness research
    for environmentally disadvantaged children.
    Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and
    Audiology, 25(2), 89-102.
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