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Scoping review: Language assessment practices for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Australia and guidelines for clinical practice
journal contributionposted on 2021-12-17, 01:31 authored by Barbra ZupanBarbra Zupan, Naomi Campbell-Woods, Hannah Thompson
Introduction: Speech pathologists play an important role in differentiating language difference from disorder in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. However, speech pathologists report that they lack culturally appropriate resources and feel under-prepared, which suggests that culturally safe ways of working and available evidence often do not align. Objective: The aim of this scoping review was to explore how the language abilities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are being assessed, the ways in which assessments are being adapted and the context in which results are being interpreted within the published literature. The studies were also evaluated for components of cultural safety using the Cultural Formulation model. Design: A comprehensive and systematic search of the literature was undertaken; hand searching was also conducted. To be eligible for inclusion, studies needed to have been conducted in Australia and include receptive and/or expressive language assessment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Findings: Combined, the identified studies included 438 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, though only 419 were independent samples. A total of 352 studies were initially identified, 10 of which were retained for this review. Data extraction included participant characteristics, assessment tools and procedures, reported outcomes and factors related to cultural safety according to the Cultural Formulation model. Conclusion: Overall, studies showed that standardised language assessments do not accurately represent the language abilities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. If used, they should be used alongside other non-standardised tasks and/or scoring should be adapted. Considerations for increasing cultural safety when assessing the language abilities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are outlined.