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Collection Working with Arabic-Speaking Families of Children who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

Date Created: 9/17/2018

Posts: 9

In this series of blog-posts, I will be sharing information based on linguistic, cultural, and religious differences, as well as several augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) options for Arab clients with complex communication needs.

collection curator

Diana Deaibes

dianadeaibes@yahoo.com

Diana Deaibes is a Speech-Language Pathologist at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Portland, Oregon. She received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology at Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan and completed her Master’s in Speech and Language Pathology at New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York. Diana is bilingual in both, Arabic and English languages and has a passion for working with patients and families from linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds. Diana currently serves as an AAC specialist providing services to children with complex communication needs. She is a member of the Assistive Technology team at Shriners Hospitals for Children. Diana is also a member of SABOR at Portland State University, a group of speech language pathologists advocating for bilingualism in the state of Oregon.

Quote The information I share with you may not be directly applicable to all families and clients you work with, though may provide you with foundational cultural considerations when working with this clientele.

Introduction to this Collection

Diana Deaibes. - 9/17/2018

Recently, in my clinical practice, we have experienced a significant increase in the number of immigrant and refugee families and clients from the Middle-East. These families present with unique cultu...

Quote Although the family and I both speak Arabic, we come from different Middle Eastern countries and speak a varied dialect of Arabic. Not only do differing dialects make implementing therapy in Arabic challenging, it also requires me to collaborate with the families more especially when creating light-tech AAC tools or recording into the client's mid-tech AAC device.

Understanding the Dialectical Variations of the Arabic Language and Implications for Treatment

Diana Deaibes. - 9/17/2018

The majority of the clientele I work with come from a primarily monolingual English speaking family. Occasionally, I work with clients from a bilingual family who speak both, English and Spanish lang...

Quote It is important to know that not all Arabs are Muslims. For the families who are Muslim and engage in religious practices, they may ask their clinicians to include the language necessary for their child to participate in prayer and other religious services using their AAC system.

Religious Considerations for Arab Muslim Clients who use AAC

Diana Deaibes. - 9/18/2018

Many Arab families I work with practice the religion of Islam; however, some families practice Christianity. It is important to know that not all Arabs are Muslims. For the families who are Muslims ...

Quote As an Arab-American speech and language pathologist, my colleagues often ask me questions about the traditional Middle Eastern culture in attempt to have a better understanding of the clients and families they work with. There are various differences between Arab and American cultures. Taking the time to educate yourself on the Arab culture will allow you to build rapport with your families.

Cultural Considerations when Working with Arab Families and their Children with Complex Communication Needs (Part I)

Diana Deaibes. - 9/23/2018

“I wonder why the family has more than one child with a disability.” “Her mother wouldn’t shake my hand when I tried greeting her in the lobby....

Quote When we are working with Arab families and their children, it may be important to ask the family where they prefer to sit during the evaluation and provide them with the option to sit in a chair if the family does not want to sit on the floor.

Cultural Considerations when Working with Arab Families and their Children with Complex Communication Needs (Part II)

Diana Deaibes. - 9/23/2018

Why do some Arab parents not engage in floor play with their children? In my clinical practice, I participated in an interdisciplinary evaluation with colleagues from occupational and physical thera...

Quote The Communication Matrix expresses that conventional gestures may be unique to the culture in which they are used. When working with Arab clients and their families, it is important to be aware of conventional and unconventional gestures within the Arab community.

No-tech AAC Considerations for Arab Clients with Complex Communication Needs

Diana Deaibes. - 9/27/2018

The Communication Matrix expresses that conventional gestures may be unique to the culture in which they are used. When working with Arab clients and their families, it is important to be aware of con...

Quote When implementing light tech AAC, I have found it beneficial to both, my clients and their families to include Arabic and English texts on communication symbols. This is important because some Arab families we work with may be literate in Arabic, but may not speak, read, or write in English. For families who are literate in Arabic, including the written word in both Arabic and English languages will not only increase your client’s exposure to literacy in both languages, but will also increase the chances for carryover in the home.

Light-tech AAC Options for Arab Clients with Complex Communication Needs

Diana Deaibes. - 9/29/2018

In my practice, I once worked with a pediatric Arab client with complex communication needs who was utilizing a “first, then” visual schedule on a horizontal board that included light tech symbols of ...

Quote When working with children with complex communication needs, it is important to ensure that these children have access to express themselves in both languages to facilitate language learning. I believe it is important to attempt to follow a typical language learning model for bilingual speakers.

Mid-tech AAC Options for Arab Clients with Complex Communication Needs

Diana Deaibes. - 9/30/2018

There are many known benefits to bilingualism that have been identified, including increase in cognitive control, lexical organization ,word-learning, and neural organization (for review, see Marian e...

Quote The demand for high-tech AAC with a robust Arabic language system is growing.

High-tech AAC Options for Arab Clients with Complex Communication Needs

Diana Deaibes. - 9/30/2018

The demand for high-tech AAC with a robust Arabic language system is growing. Being that I am an Arab-American speech and language pathologist, I am occasionally asked if I am aware of any high-tech ...

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