Academic and Clinical Preparation for Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in Speech-Language Pathology: Program Director Perspectives
Contemporary issues in communication science and disorders : CICSD
Purpose: This investigation surveyed program directors of speech-language pathology graduate programs in the United States to determine their views on the academic instruction and clinical practicum experiences that are provided to prepare students to work with culturally and linguistically diverse populations. Method: An online survey was administered to program directors of accredited programs in speech-language pathology throughout the United States. Results: Overall, program directors felt
... ram directors felt that their programs prepared students to provide speech-language pathology services to culturally and linguistically diverse populations. Two survey questions yielded statistically significant differences across geographic regions of the United States. The first related to the amount of academic instruction provided in cultural and language diversity (CLD), and the second to the adequacy of numbers of individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to participate in clinic practica. Responses to an open-ended question also suggested that some directors perceived challenges related to lthough the expanding diversity in the United States results in the increased likelihood that speech-language pathologists (SLPs) will serve culturally and linguistically diverse clients in their careers, there are many challenges to providing high-quality, culturally competent clinical services (Battle, 2001; Kohnert, Kennedy, Glaze, Kan, & Carney, 2003) . Cultural competence for SLPs has been characterized as "sensitivity to cultural and linguistic differences that affect the identification, assessment, treatment and management of communiproviding sufficient practicum experience for working with culturally and linguistically diverse populations due to a lack of access to such individuals. There were no statistically significant differences across regions for questions related to the importance of meeting the revised American Speech-Language-Hearing Association standards regarding CLD, or questions related to the extent of challenges associated with those standards. Conclusion: Results suggest that program directors perceived that their graduate programs in speech-language pathology were addressing issues of CLD through the provision of at least some academic and clinical training for their students. Continued attention to evaluation of program efforts in training for CLD is warranted to improve the quality of opportunities for all graduate students in speech-language pathology to receive training that promotes at least entrylevel cultural competence.