A geographical analysis of speech-language pathology services to support multilingual children

Sarah Verdon, Sharynne McLeod, Simon McDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The speech-language pathology workforce strives to provide equitable, quality services to multilingual people. However, the extent to which this is being achieved is unknown. Participants in this study were 2,849 practicing members of Speech Pathology Australia and 4,386 children in the Birth cohort of the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC). Statistical and geospatial analyses were undertaken to identify the linguistic diversity and geographical distribution of Australian speech-language pathology services and Australian children. One fifth of services provided by Speech Pathology Australia members (20.2%) were available in a language other than English. Services were most commonly offered in Australian Sign Language (Auslan) (4.3%), French (3.1%), Italian (2.2%), Greek (1.6%), and Cantonese (1.5%). Among 4- to- 5-year-old children in the nationally representative LSAC, 15.3% were regularly spoken to in a language other than English. The most common languages spoken by the children were Arabic (1.5%), Italian (1.2%), Greek (0.9%), Spanish (0.9%), and Vietnamese (0.9%). Despite the relatively high number of multilingual SLP services, there was a mismatch between the location of multilingual services and the languages in which they were offered and the location of, and languages spoken by children. These findings highlight the need for speech-language pathologists, both multilingual and monolingual, to be culturally competent in providing equitable services to all clients regardless of the languages they speak.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-316
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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