Effect of dialect on the identification of speech impairmentin Indigenous children
Wendy M. Pearce |
Australian Catholic University, North Sydney; James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland
The influence of dialect on child speech assessment processes is important to consider in order to ensure accurate diagnosis and appropriate intervention (teaching or therapy) for bidialectal children. In Australia, there is limited research evidence documenting the influence of dialectal variations on identification of speech impairment among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. The effect of dialect on the identification of speech impairment was therefore investigated in seven eight-year-old Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian children living in Townsville, Queensland. Up to eighty words were transcribed from a connected speech sample and phonological patterns were analysed using contrastive analysis. The number of participants identified with a speech impairment decreased when typical characteristics of Australian Indigenous Englishes (AIE) were used as the target reference rather than Standard Australian English (SAE).
Keywords: dialect, speech impairment, Aboriginal English
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