SLP serving Indigenous families & children (Guiberson & Ferris, 2023)
Purpose: With the documented educational inequities that Indigenous children experience evidenced by disproportionate representation in special education and lower graduation rates, there is a need to better understand the backgrounds, training, professional perspectives, and clinical practices of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) serving this population. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to conduct a survey with SLPs from the Mountain West and High Plains region of the United States who serve Indigenous children to understand current patterns and to inform practices that SLPs can apply in addressing educational inequities.
Method: SLPs from the Mountain West and High Plains completed an online survey that gathered information about background, training, professional perspectives, and clinical practices.
Results: Three hundred thirty-three SLPs completed the survey. Results revealed that respondents, for the most part, understood educational disparities that Indigenous children experience, and they valued Indigenous dialects of English and Indigenous languages. Patterns in practice revealed strong reliance on standardized measures for assessment and a small percentage of respondents using bidialectal or narrative-based strategies.
Conclusions: Very few respondents had training on serving Indigenous children and families, yet they had overall awareness of educational disparities experienced by this group. Respondents reported challenges with developing relationships and overcoming access barriers. Their clinical practices were not as tailored to the language and learning needs of Indigenous children, especially when compared to practices recommended in two recent scoping reviews. The Indigenous Connectedness Framework, the abundance model, and Indigenous pedagogies are presented as ways to initiate change and meaningful engagement with Indigenous families and communities.
Supplemental Material S1. Survey questions.
Guiberson, M., & Ferris, K. (2023) Speech-language pathologists’ preparation, practices, and perspectives on serving: Indigenous families and children. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2023_AJSLP-23-00105