Non-standard assessment practices in the evaluation of communication in Australian Aboriginal children

Clin Linguist Phon. 2008 Aug;22(8):643-57. doi: 10.1080/02699200802222206.


Australian Aboriginal children typically receive communication assessment services from Standard Australian English (SAE) speaking non-Aboriginal speech-language pathologists (SLPs). Educational assessments, including intelligence testing, are also primarily conducted by non-Aboriginal educational professionals. While the current paper will show that non-Indigenous SLPs can conduct valid communication assessments with Indigenous children, it will also be shown that educational assessments do not always benefit the child being assessed, and may sometimes do harm to Aboriginal children. Many of the issues surrounding the assessment of Australian Aboriginal children by non-Aboriginal SLPs are similar to those encountered in other countries where Indigenous populations represent a minority. Very little research has been conducted within Australia to examine this issue. This paper presents overviews of case studies from a longitudinal research project designed to examine the topic of cross-cultural speech-language pathology assessment with Indigenous children, making specific reference to the situation in Australia.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Communication Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language Tests
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander*
  • Speech-Language Pathology / methods*