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Providing Early Intervention Services to Diverse Populations: Are Speech–Language Pathologists Prepared?

Caesar, Lena G. EdD, PhD, CCC-SLP

doi: 10.1097/IYC.0b013e3182848340
Original Study

This study used a survey approach to investigate the current state of speech–language preservice academic and clinical preparation for providing early intervention (EI) services to culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) populations. Information was obtained from speech–language pathologists (SLPs) employed in EI settings regarding their perceptions of (a) second language proficiency, (b) academic and clinical preparation in CLD issues, (c) access to continuing education regarding CLD populations, and (d) confidence levels in providing services to CLD families. In addition, information was obtained from university personnel regarding their perceptions of the adequacy of students' academic preparation for working with CLD families and the availability of specific coursework in the areas of CLD and EI. Results from the 189 responding SLPs in the state of Michigan indicated that more than half considered their graduate education to be less than adequate. However, more than two-thirds (67%) indicated that they felt qualified and competent to provide speech–language pathology services to CLD families. In contrast, the majority of university personnel felt that their graduate programs adequately prepared students for serving CLD infants, toddlers, and their families. Implications of the mismatch between SLPs' perceptions of inadequate preparation and university personnel's view of training adequacy are discussed.

Department of Speech–Language Pathology & Audiology, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan. Dr Caesar is now with the Department of Speech–Language Pathology/Audiology, Loyola University Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland.

Correspondence: Lena G. Caesar, EdD, PhD, CCC-SLP, Department of Speech–Language Pathology/Audiology, Loyola University Maryland, Baltimore, MD 21210 (

This research was funded in part by a grant to the author from the Early On Center for Higher Education at the Clinton County RESA Office of Innovative Projects in DeWitt, Michigan.

The author declares no conflict of interest.

©2013Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.