Abstract

Objective: To identify contemporary work and directions required for understanding and meeting the neuropsychological needs of the estimated 45 million indigenous Latin Americans (ILAs). People from 600 ILA ethnicities make up 13% of the Latin American population. They are often rural and impoverished, and constitute 43% of global linguistic diversity (AILLA, 2014). With hundreds of thousands of ILAs in the US, the topic is pertinent to NAN members. This review identifies commonalities/variability of neuropsychological needs of these populations regarding demographic identity, epidemiology, language, culture, traditional medicine, education, economics, politics, and discrimination. Data Selection: We searched English, Spanish, and Portuguese medical, psychological, and educational databases and canvassed Latin American neuropsychology colleagues for pertinent work with these scientifically and clinically neglected populations. Due to a wide range of terms (e.g., Quechua, Mixteco, Guraní, etc.), three search languages, and diverse disciplines, the search was exploratory, iterative, and representative rather than systematic and exhaustive. Data Synthesis: ILAs have disproportionate neuropsychological risks of malnutrition, toxicities, and cerebral infections. Formal education is often limited, rote, and not in their native language. They show distinctive population cognitive profiles, with relatively stronger visual-spatial skills (Ostrosky-Solís, et. al, 2004). Tests translated and adapted to indigenous languages and cultures are rare. Adapted interventions typically address basic medical needs rather than neuropsychological needs. Conclusion(s): The distinctive neuropsychological needs of ILAs are underrecognized. They receive a small fraction of neuropsychological services compared to populations of European origins and languages. Future work should focus on increasing multicultural awareness and knowledge of ILAs including education/training, research, and practice.