Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) students Krisi Ebbers, Alison Dungca, Lauren Anthony, and Aaliyah Gladney continued work on a student initiative titled “Cultural and Linguistic Diversity (CLD): Awareness and Appreciation.” CSD instructor Tricia Larkin supported the students’ efforts.

This independent study fostered awareness of CLD and educated others on campus about potential implicit biases. The students created rotating bulletin boards that highlighted Asian Pacific Islanders, Desi Americans, and Middle Easterners; other boards described issues associated with diverse religions and immigration. Each board included five key components: appreciation versus appropriation, power and privilege, then and now, stereotypes, and why representation matters.

Students in this study sponsored an event titled “Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in Clinical Practices” on April 15 at the Illinois State University National Student Speech-Hearing-Language Association (NSSHLA) meeting. Alycia Carroll ’05, M.S. ’07, speech-language pathologist and Illinois State University alumna, shared her knowledge and experiences about the topic with the audience.

Carroll works in a local school district with a diverse population of students. Specifically, Carroll discussed the importance of perspective taking, utilizing dynamic assessments, and incorporating materials and resources that are appropriate when working with a student from a culture different than one’s own. Carroll also credited the cultural diversity course she took during her graduate program with introducing her to the area of CLD and giving her a base of knowledge from which to work.

Next year, the work of the Cultural and Linguistic Diversity (CLD): Awareness and Appreciation independent study will be continued by the department’s Student Advisory Board.

This board will take on the responsibilities of a Student Diversity Task Force to emphasize the importance of cultural and linguistic diversity.  Specific activities and educational displays will occur to further educate others about this important aspect of community and professional development.