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Promoting Cultural Diversity and Cultural Competency

Self-Assessment Checklist for Personnel Providing Services and Supports to Children and their Families

This checklist is intended to heighten the awareness and sensitivity of personnel to the importance of cultural diversity and cultural competence in human service settings. It provides concrete examples of the kinds of values and practices that foster such an environment.

Directions: Select A, B, or C for each numbered item listed.

A = Things I do frequently
B = Things I do occasionally
C = Things I do rarely or never

Physical Environment, Materials, and Resources

_____ 1. I display pictures, posters and other materials that reflect the cultures and ethnic backgrounds of children and families served by my program or agency.

_____ 2. I insure that magazines, brochures, and other printed materials in reception areas are of interest to and reflect the different cultures of children and families served by my program or agency.

_____ 3. When using videos, films or other media resources for health education, treatment or other interventions, I insure that they reflect the cultures of children and families served by my program or agency.

_____ 4. When using food during an assessment, I insure that meals provided include foods that are unique to the cultural and ethnic backgrounds of children and families served by my program or agency.

_____ 5. I insure that toys and other play accessories in reception areas and those, which are used during assessment, are representative of the various cultural and ethnic groups within the local community and the society in general.

Communication Styles

_____ 6. For children who speak languages or dialects other than English, I attempt to learn and use key words in their language so that I am better able to communicate with them during assessment, treatment or other interventions.

_____ 7. I attempt to determine any familial colloquialisms used by children and families that may impact on assessment, treatment or other interventions.

_____ 8. I use visual aids, gestures, and physical prompts in my interactions with children who have limited English proficiency.

_____ 9. I use bilingual staff or trained/certified interpreters for assessment, treatment and other interventions with children who have limited English Proficiency.

_____ 10. I use bilingual staff or trained/certified interpreters during assessments, treatment sessions, meetings, and for or other events for families who would require this level of assistance.

11. When interacting with parents who have limited English proficiency I always keep in mind that:

_____  limitations in English proficiency are in no way a reflection of level of intellectual functioning.

_____  limited ability to speak the language of the dominant culture has no bearing on ability to communicate effectively in their language of origin.

_____  a person may or may not be literate in their language of origin or English.

_____ 12. When possible, I insure that all notices and communiqués to parents are written in their language of origin.

_____ 13. I understand that it may be necessary to use alternatives to written communications for some families, as word of mouth may be a preferred method of receiving information.

Values and Attitudes

_____ 14. I avoid imposing values that may conflict or be inconsistent with those of cultures or ethnic groups other than my own.

_____ 15. In group therapy or treatment situations, I discourage children from using racial and ethnic slurs by helping them understand that certain words can hurt others.

_____ 16. I screen books, movies, and other media resources for negative cultural, ethnic, or racial stereotypes before sharing them with children and their parents served by my program or agency.

_____ 17. I intervene in an appropriate manner when I observe other staff or parents within my program or agency engaging in behaviors that show cultural insensitivity, bias or prejudice.

_____ 18. I understand and accept that family is defined differently by different cultures (e.g. extended family members, fictive kin, godparents).

_____ 19. I recognize and accept that individuals from culturally diverse backgrounds may desire varying degrees of acculturation into the dominant culture.

_____ 20. I accept and respect that male-female roles in families may vary significantly among different cultures (e.g. who makes major decisions for the family, play and social interactions expected of male and female children).

_____ 21. I understand that age and life cycle factors must be considered in interactions with individuals and families (e.g. high value placed on the decisions of elders or the role of the eldest male in families).

_____ 22. Even though my professional or moral viewpoints may differ, I accept the family/parents as the ultimate decision makers for services and supports for their children.

_____ 23. I recognize that the meaning or value of medical treatment and health education may vary greatly among cultures.

_____ 24. I recognize and understand that beliefs and concepts of emotional well-being vary significantly from culture to culture.

_____ 25. I understand that beliefs about mental illness and emotional disability are culturally-based. I accept that responses to these conditions and related treatment/interventions are heavily influenced by culture.

_____ 26. I accept that religion and other beliefs may influence how families respond to illnesses, disease, disability and death.

_____ 27. I recognize and accept that folk and religious beliefs may influence a family's reaction and approach to a child born with a disability or later diagnosed with a physical/emotional disability or special health care needs.

_____ 28. I understand that traditional approaches to disciplining children are influenced by culture.

_____ 29. I understand that families from different cultures will have different expectations of their children for acquiring toileting, dressing, feeding, and other self-help skills.

_____ 30. I accept and respect that customs and beliefs about food, its value, preparation, and use are different from culture to culture.

_____ 31. Before visiting or providing services in the home setting, I seek information on acceptable behaviors, courtesies, customs and expectations that are unique to families of specific cultures and ethnic groups served by my program or agency.

_____ 32. I seek information from family members or other key community informants that will assist in service adaptation to respond to the needs and preferences of culturally and ethnically diverse children and families served by my program or agency.

_____ 33. I advocate for the review of my program's or agency's mission statement, goals, policies, and procedures to insure that they incorporate principles and practices that promote cultural diversity and cultural competence.

There is no answer key with correct responses. However, if you frequently responded "C", you may not necessarily demonstrate values and engage in practices that promote a culturally diverse and culturally competent service delivery system for children with disabilities or special health care needs and their families.

Tawara D. Goode, - Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development-University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research & Service
Adapted from - Promoting Cultural Competence and Cultural Diversity in Early Intervention and Early Childhood Settings - June 1989. Revised 1993, 1996, 1999, 2000 and 2002.

Reprinted with permission from: Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development