McLeod, S., & Verdon, S. (2015). Longitudinal patterns of language use, diversity, support, and competence. In Department of Social Services (Ed.), Footprints in Time: The Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children. Report from Wave 5 (pp. 66-70). Canberra, Australia: Commonwealth of Australia.
Indigenous Australian children in Footprints in Time included in the current article were culturally and linguistically diverse. Many were multilingual with some speaking up to seven languages. Most of the children spoke English (with all of the children speaking English by Wave 4). One-fifth of children spoke an Indigenous language, and the percentage slightly increased over the four waves of data. Indigenous Australian children have rich cultural and linguistic traditions and their speech and language competence is promoted through family and community experiences, including book reading and telling stories. Almost all primary carers wanted their children to learn an Indigenous language at school in some capacity. Primary carers were concerned about children’s speech and language competence at similar rates as reported for all Australian children. While some children were receiving speech pathology services, others were unable to, or did not plan to access services. Encouraging Indigenous children’s speech and language competence is an important endeavour for families, communities and society to support children to grow up strong.The full report is here