Communication Across Cultures. Marian H. Jarrett, Ed.D. Lorelei Emma, M.A. George Washington University 6 th Annual Infant and Toddler Connection of Virginia Early Intervention Conference 2008.
Marian H. Jarrett, Ed.D.
Lorelei Emma, M.A.
George Washington University
6th Annual Infant and Toddler Connection of Virginia Early Intervention Conference 2008
(Division of Services for Children with Special Health Care Needs, 2005)
Betancourt, Green, & Carrillo, 2003
1. Clarification of the service provider’s own values, attitudes and assumptions
2. Knowledge of commonly held cultural beliefs and the culturally normative interactive styles of specific cultural groups
3. Skills that enable the individual to engage in successful interactions
AAP, 1999; Lynch & Hanson, 2004
10.5 million U.S. residents speak little or no English
Different languages = difficulty communicating
Even with same language, language of disability and grief are always difficult.
(U.S. Census Bureau, 2001)
Medium through which families and providers negotiate the process of caring for an infant or young child with disabilities or a life-threatening illness
Basic tool used to establish and maintain relationships with families
Essential to family-centered and culturally-sensitive care
Shows interest and encourages parent to continue
Uses open-ended questions to help parents describe their perceptions and feelings
Uses focused questions to gain specific information
Paraphrases the content of parent communication
Validates parent’s feelings
Unconsciously learned ways to think, feel, and act according to what our culture considers appropriate
Often unable to set aside our own cultural values and listen to the family
May unwittingly violate cultural assumptions about the parent’s role, cause of disability, or intervention options
Complete the Values Clarification Exercise in the back of your packet.
Read each statement, rate it, and move to the next statement.
There are no right or wrong answers.
Review your responses.
Examine each statement by asking:
Who are the members of the family system?
Who is the spokesperson?
Who should be included in discussions?
Is full disclosure acceptable?
Who makes decisions in the family?
Can be based on age, gender, social position, education, economic status and authority
Formality of communication shows respect
Distinct lines drawn between members of society in some cultures can impeded open communication
May be inappropriate to ask informally about family and disability or medical issues
Coming directly to decision-making may seem rude or insensitive
Direct confrontation and questioning may cause discomfort and even shame
Slow down and talk less
Look for meaning in physical gestures
Focus on the context of the family and the interaction
Be aware of hierarchical differences within families and between the family and the provider
Low socioeconomic status
Inexperience with Western health care and education system
Lack of or limited formal education
Emigration from a rural area
Little knowledge of English
Recent immigration to the U.S. at an older age
Segregation in an ethnic subculture
(Buchwald, et al., 1994)
Listen with sympathy and understanding to the family’s perception of the problem
Explain your perceptions of the problem
Acknowledge and discuss the differences and similarities
Encourage open dialogue by asking about family relationships, values and beliefs.
Informally determine fluency of family by asking open-ended question.
Encourage family to ask questions.
Ask family questions to check understanding.
Summarize what the parent says.
Do not discourage family from talking among themselves in their own language.
Work with cultural mediators.
Learn and use words and forms of greeting.
Provide information in different forms – oral, written, pictorial, demonstration.
Rely on the interpreter, observations, instincts, and knowledge to know when to proceed and when to wait.
Use trained interpreters for important meetings with the family.
Allow additional time to determine cultural values, beliefs and perspectives.
Reinforce verbal interaction with material written in family’s language.
Provide an interpreter when requested by the family even if they speak some English.
Overview of case
Small group discussion
Sharing out with whole group
Buchwald, D. Panagiota, V.C., Francesca, G., Hardt, E.J., Johnson, T.M., Muecke, M.A. & Putsch, R.W. (1994). Caring for patients in a multicultural society. Patient Care, June 15, 1994, 105-123.
Lynch, E.W. & Hanson, M.J. (2004). Developing cross-cultural competence: A guide for working with children and families. (3rd Ed.) Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., Inc.
Montgomery, W. (2001). Creating culturally responsive, inclusive classrooms. Teaching Exceptional Children, 33(4), pp. 4-9.
U.S. Census Bureau. (2002). Number of foreign-born up 57 percent since 1990, according to Census 2000. Retrieved July 12, 2004, from http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2002/cb02cn117.htm