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Aboriginal liaison officer (ALO) involvement

Speech pathologists should offer the involvement of an Aboriginal Liaison Officer (ALO) where possible to advise on cultural issues and liaise with client and family.

Reference: Shahid et al., 2011; Taylor, Thompson, Dimer, Ali & Wood, 2009.
NHMRC level of Evidence: Qual.

As noted above, understanding different worldviews is important in assessment/management (e.g. the concept of 'shame' about the stroke/aphasia may be different and it is important to investigate how this may be manifesting for the person with aphasia).  The speech pathologist may be able to talk with the ALO about ways of trying to reduce this for the patient as it can be disempowering.  It may be that working directly on impairments singles out the patient and makes their difference obvious which can be something that causes shame. The ALO may also assist with developing trust between health care provider and the person with aphasia and their family, which is a strong value within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.


  1. Shahid, S., Finn, L., Bessarab, D., & Thompson, S. C. (2011). 'Nowhere to room ... nobody told them': logistical and cultural impediments to Aboriginal peoples' participation in cancer treatment. Australian Health Review, 35(2), 235-241. doi: Doi 10.1071/Ah09835
  2. Taylor, K. P., Thompson, S. C., Dimer, L., Ali, M., & Wood, M. M. (2009). Exploring the impact of an Aboriginal Health Worker on hospitalised Aboriginal experiences: lessons from cardiology. Australian Health Review, 33(4), 549. doi: 10.1071/ah090549


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Professor Linda Worrall
The University of Queensland
ST LUCIA QLD 4072   



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