Exploring the Insiders’ Experience of Language Assessment of Bilingual Samoan-English Speakers with Aphasia: "it's hard"
Thesis DisciplineSpeech and Language Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Background: The Samoan population is a growing population and one with an estimated high incidence of aphasia. Language assessment with bilingual individuals is said to be a challenging area of Speech-Language Therapy practice. Language assessment of bilingual Samoan-English speakers with aphasia is a field with limited research, and the specific experience of the individuals involved is an important factor to consider in improving SLT practice with this population.
Aims: The current thesis aimed to explore the experience of language assessment of bilingual Samoan-English speakers with aphasia as perceived by those involved in the assessment process.
Method: Two qualitative studies were utilised to address the aims, the first was a single case study observing the process of language assessment of a bilingual Samoan-English speaker with aphasia and follow-up interviews with other participants involved. The second study was a focus group with Speech-Language Therapists who had experience with language assessment of bilingual Samoan-English speakers with aphasia.
Outcome and results: The results of the case study revealed eight themes: language assessment of bilingual Samoan-English speakers with aphasia is a hard process for the individuals involved; language assessment of bilingual Samoan-English speakers with aphasia is a team process; differences in understanding of communication impairments and the assessment process; time; preparation; appropriateness of assessment tasks, resources, and processes; uncertainty; and flexibility. The results of the focus group indicated eight categories: Speech-Language Therapists’ background, using interpreters, family involvement, Samoan language and culture, getting an initial impression of and building rapport with the individual with aphasia, assessment tasks and resources, determining which language(s) to assess and logistics of assessment.
Conclusion: Language assessment of bilingual Samoan-English speakers with aphasia is a challenging area of Speech-Language Therapy practice. Challenges are multifaceted and although some challenges may be present in all language assessment with individuals with aphasia, they are further exacerbated by the addition of multiple languages, people, and culture. Helpful strategies identified in this study may aid in improving the overall experience.