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Volume 17, Number 1 2015


and intervention strategies, a smaller but still sizeable

proportion reported less than adequate skills.

A common suggestion for improvement was to provide

education and training at both university and PD levels.

However, the findings of our survey suggest that existing

university education programs may be less than adequate

in equipping student graduates with knowledge and

skills for work with this population. Further, while SLPs

in our study reported high interest in PD opportunities,

this contrasted with the low frequency with which they

sought PD activities. This discrepancy may reflect a lack

of appropriate PD opportunities relevant to their specific

needs. The SLPs in our study also indicated the need

for resource materials to be made easily accessible and

understood in the form of clear protocols and guidelines.

Additionally, gaps in the availability of assessment and

intervention materials were identified. These limitations are

not specific to Australia and have been found elsewhere,

such as the USA (Centeno, 2009).

This study points to an urgent need for improvement at

multiple levels, such as in university entry-level programs,

continuing PD opportunities, service policies and resources,

as has been recommended by Speech Pathology Australia

(2009), to better support clinicians working with CALD

populations. Underlying the suggestions to address the

knowledge, skills, and resource gaps, is perhaps the

need for more research in aphasia management for CALD

populations, as identified by several respondents in this

survey and also in the existing literature (Centeno, 2009;

Kiran & Goral, 2012; Lorenzen & Murray, 2008).

The challenges identified in this study may have implications

for the quality of care provided. A sizeable proportion of the

SLPs in this survey reported less than adequate confidence

levels in their assessment and treatment, and also in their

abilities to provide positive outcomes for their clients. The

lower levels of confidence stand in contrast to Rose et al’s.

(2014) survey where SLPs reported very high confidence

levels regarding adopting the range of social, functional,

and neuropsychological approaches to aphasia intervention

for monolingual English-speaking clients.


The relatively small sample size in the current study

suggests the results may not be generalisable to the entire

Australian aphasia rehabilitation SLP population. The exact

number of members in the target population, however, was

unknown and it was not possible to determine the exact

representativeness of the recruited sample.

Future implications

For a comprehensive understanding of the service practices

across all areas of adult focused speech-language pathology,

further investigation are recommended, in particular, adopting

a more in-depth approach such as in-depth interviewing or

focus groups, with an emphasis on contextually relevant

factors requiring attention in order to mitigate change.


The results in this study add to the growing evidence that

SLPs are still facing significant challenges in aphasia

management for CALD populations. This is despite repeated

calls by professional bodies and from the scholarly literature

for changes to occur (Centeno, 2009; Lorenzen and Murray,

2009; Speech Pathology Association of Australia, 2009).

Universities and SLP departments are urged to consider

increasing education and continuing PD about appropriate

aphasia assessment and intervention practices with CALD

populations. Increased research needs to also be considered,

alongside mechanisms to support the development of

suitable assessment and treatment materials for Australian

wide distribution. It will not be sufficient to educate SLPs

without equipping them with the right materials.


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