The Importance Of Cultural Competency In Speech-Language Pathology

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The United States is changing rapidly and is becoming a more culturally diverse population (Lemmon & Jackson-Bowen, 2013). A census conducted by the US Census Bureau predicted that by the year 2050, the minority population in the United States will expand by at least 44%, increasing the number of individuals that will be from culturally linguistically diverse backgrounds (Lemmon & Jackson-Bowen, 2013). This requires speech-language pathologists to increase their cultural competency to respond to the demographic changes in the US (ASHA,2008). Griffer and Perlis (2007) define cultural competency as a process through which one develops an understanding of self, while developing the ability to develop responsive, reciprocal, and respectful relationships …show more content…
Cultural competence in speech pathology involves understanding the importance of social and cultural influences on a patients’ health beliefs and behaviors; considering how these factors interact during the delivery of care (clinical decision makings or structure of delivery), and planning interventions that comprise of these factors to assure quality health care delivery to patients with diverse backgrounds (Betancourt et al.,1999).
According to Lemmon and Jackson-Bowen (2013, becoming culturally competent is a continuous process of personal growth that results in professional understanding and the improved ability to adequately serve individuals who look, think, and behave differently from we do. In order to become culturally competent, a speech-language pathologist (SLP) must be aware of personal values, biases, and assumption about human behavior (Bellon-Harn & Garrett, 2008). SLP’s must also increase awareness of their clients’ values and beliefs to foster a collaborative relationship with the client and their
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SLP’s need to understand the people-nature relationship, which examines how a cultural group views its relationship with nature and its environment (Bellon-Harn & Garrett, 2008). Some cultures may view a disorder as an integral component of life, so they will reject intervention and deem it unnecessary (Matteliano & Stone, 2014). The client and clients’ family perspective on nature can affect the degree to which services they want provided and the degree to which a family is willing to participate (Bellon-Harn & Garrett, 2008).
Bellon-Harn and Garrett (2008) found that it is integral to consider the structure of a family to determine who should be included in the clinical process. In some cultures, parents or spouses make the decisions independently, whereas in other cultures extended family members or community leaders may be asked to help make decisions along with immediate family (Bellon-Harn & Garrett, 2008). In some cultures, the father is the head of the household and makes the decisions based on what he feels in in the best interest of all the family members (Bellon-Harn & Garrett,

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