Introduction to the special series on culture and SLPs.
Carol Westby's article provides a review of the concept of intelligence from different cultural perspectives and explains why the traditional approach to determining "who is smart" is inappropriate for students from culturally/ linguistically diverse backgrounds and inadequate even for determining if mainstream students will be successful in daily living. She describes the concept of "successful intelligence" and makes the connection from successful intelligence to the components of CQ. How can professionals function effectively in a diverse world? Westby also provides some strategies for promoting CQ in her article. This overarching piece lays the foundation for the discussions in this special issue.
CQ can be described across three parameters of human behavior--cognitive intelligence, emotional intelligence, and physical intelligence. In her article, Shari Robertson provides an overview of the concept of emotional intelligence and its historic and theoretical foundations. This focus provides a lens for examining this very important dimension of CQ. It is paramount that speech-language pathologists and audiologists examine their CQ to provide beneficial services to their clients, regardless of cultural background. Robertson also provides some strategies for developing and implementing skills related to emotional intelligence to enhance clinical competence and cultural proficiency. Indeed, speech-language pathologists who wish to be efficacious as lifelong learners will find this piece very helpful.
We work with individuals from all corners of the world and all walks of life. We also work with individuals with communication disorders across the life span. A better understanding of how we work with children whose primary language/culture is not English/mainstream is necessary. Christine Wing and colleagues discuss cultural influences on clinical interactions when treating late talkers, that is, 2- to 3-year-old children with primary language delays. They point out how cultural mismatches occur and note that communication breakdown can happen. In this article, Wing et al. use the literature to examine the cultural relevance of core components of early language treatment and propose alternative professional actions in the cases of cultural mismatches, advocating for culturally consistent treatment. They suggest alternative actions, including triadic or multiparty treatments, the inclusion of siblings or other individuals, more structured tasks or group settings for language training, and shaping culturally congruent directive language techniques. Wing et al. also discuss the need for an emphasis on social language use and professional clarity regarding links between early child language ability and later achievements.
In the article "Developing Cultural Intelligence in Pre-service Speech-Language Pathologists" Mona Griffer and Susan Perlis urge educators to include the important topic of CQ in the education and training of future professionals to meet the demands of our future global workforce and diverse workplace. They discuss the key components to developing CQ and also provide a case study to facilitate our learning and quest for understanding.
Finally, the massacre that took place on the campus of Virginia Tech triggered the article that I wrote. I was so overwhelmed by this tragedy and had so many questions in my mind that I took time to follow this situation. The experience convinced me to include a piece in this special series on CQ for CDQ. My main motivation was not to point fingers at any one or any group but rather to focus on the following question: What more could we have done? The person who committed the horrible crime was suffering and struggling to be seen and heard. Where was his voice heard? Why could he not be heard in a normal way? Why could he not be seen in a normal way? What have we learned from this case? Did culture play a part in this story? Could this tragedy help us learn more about CQ? It is never too late to learn.
In sum, I hope that you will find this special series on CQ for CDQ interesting, and I wish you the best in your quest for excellence. Excellence is a habit, not an act.
Li-Rong Lilly Cheng
San Diego State University, California