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Aboriginal early language promotion and early intervention

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Ball, Jessica
Publication Date: 
27 Nov 2008

Introduction: Aboriginal community representatives, practitioners, and investigators have long recognized the need for a strategy to ensure optimal language and literacy outcomes for young Aboriginal children. An effective strategy would include supports for early language facilitation in family and community care settings, resources for Indigenous language acquisition, and services to address speech-language difficulties before children start school. Policy makers need to recognize language and literacy development as aspects of inter-generational family development that are relevant to a range of policy areas, including residential school healing programs, community development, adult education, employment, literacy, and social justice. It is generally acknowledged that there are few peer-reviewed research reports about Aboriginal children’s development and speech-language difficulties, which creates gaps in knowledge. This report identifies several areas where research is urgently needed. Until evidence is available, guidelines for innovative approaches to practice are offered in this report based largely on anecdotal insights from practitioners in the field, and community-level efforts reported in the literature about programs.