Cultural Perspectives in Language and Speech Disorders

Ruth Ndung'u, Mathew Kinyua


Culture has a heavy overlay on the perceptions and the subsequent handling of persons with language and speech disorders. This article reviews the cultural perspectives of language and speech disorders as portrayed by persons with language and speech disorders, parents, teachers, and language and speech pathologists. The information on cultural perspectives was collected between November 2006 and August 2007 during Operation Smile, Kenya Chapter Missions. 20 persons, aged between 8 and 53 years, were interviewed. The research objective was to establish the cultural perspective that determines the interpretations of language and speech disorders and their subsequent management.

The finding of the study is that there is a notable cultural association or correlation between cultural beliefs and language and speech disorders. There is also ignorance of the causes and management procedures of language and speech disorders. We conclude that there is a need to provide assessment and treatment protocols that are culturally fair, effective, and acceptable. Such protocols include taking into account gender preferences, adhering to culturally relevant communication patterns, and using collaborative therapy.

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Copyright (c) 2009 Ruth Ndung'u, Mathew Kinyua

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