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by Liliana Diaz
March 29, 2019
¡Hola! ¿Que tal? My name is Liliana Diaz-Vazquez and I am a bilingual speech language pathologist Chicago, IL where I have been practicing as a bilingual SLP for the last 5 years. I am proudly Mexican-American and a native Spanish speaker, a sequential bilingual to be exact! Spanish was my first language growing up and then I acquired English once enrolled in elementary school. I have quite an interesting story on how I became a SLP (as I am sure most of you do because speech language pathology isn’t a common area of study). But more specifically, my story is about how I became a bilingual speech language pathologist.
I’ve always had a strong passion for working with the bilingual population and making a difference in the Latino community since I can remember and picking a career to study was not an easy task. Luckily, my mother has always been my life guidance counselor and I would say that I owe a lot of my career choices to her. My mother always urged to me pursue a career in the medical or healthcare industry where I can utilize my Spanish-speaking skills, in hopes that I can make a difference in the Latinx community. The reason for this is because, growing up in a household where Spanish is the language predominately spoken, meant trips to the doctor with my grandmother or making phone calls for my dad in order to interpret for them. My mother always stressed the importance of being able to find someone who is proficient in Spanish when going to a hospital or any type of facility. But most importantly, she often stressed that the quality of care and communication improves greatly when you have someone that relates to you on a cultural level. And this statement stuck with me forever. She embedded this mission in me, which was to work hard and make a difference in the Spanish-speaking or bilingual community and I am thankful for that.
Now let’s fast forward to undergrad in college. At the time, I did not know much about speech language pathology, but I did know that I wanted to serve the bilingual and Latino community. I was attending the University of Illinois at Chicago and majoring in psychology. My long-term goal was to become a psychologist and open up my own private practice dedicated towards serving the Latinx community. This goal of mine quickly changed when I realized that psychology no longer interested me. My mother continued to persuade me to look into speech language pathology and I finally took her advice. After much research, and after interviewing my community SLPs, I decided to apply to a different school and change my career path.
I was very fortunate to receive admission to the undergraduate program for communication sciences and disorders (CSDI) at Saint Xavier University (SXU). In 2012, I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in CSDI and was immediately accepted into the speech language pathology master’s program at SXU as well. The program did not have a bilingual emphasis or bilingual program, however, I’ve always known that this was the population I wanted to work therefore, I had asked my clinical supervisors and professors for clinical placements and internships within the bilingual population. I was fortunate enough to gain hands-on experience with this population in the school and medical setting. In addition, I was extremely fortunate to have had amazing bilingual supervisors. By the time graduation was near, I had gained experience in diagnosing, treating and evaluating students and patients from diverse and culturally linguistic backgrounds. However, my learning did not stop there.
After graduation, I continued to pursue continuing education courses in bilingual language development and spent countless hours reading research articles associated with bilingual language development and disorders. In addition, my first job was in two elementary schools where the school population primarily consisted of 90% English language learners. By the end of my CF year, I felt confident enough to say that I had met the American Speech Hearing Association (ASHA) standards for bilingual service delivery which states the following: “Bilingual SLPs must be able to independently provide comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services for speech, language, cognitive, voice, and swallowing disorders using the client’s/patient’s language and preferred mode of communication. They must also have the linguistic proficiency to describe the process of normal speech and language acquisition—for both bilingual and monolingual speakers of that language, including how those processes are manifested in oral and written language (or manually coded languages when applicable); select, administer, and interpret formal and informal assessment procedures to distinguish between communication differences and communication disorders; apply intervention strategies for treatment of communication disorders in the language or mode of communication most appropriate for the needs of the individual.”
Becoming a bilingual SLP was a long journey but well worth the time. I welcome any questions from anyone interested in pursuing speech language pathology with a bilingual emphasis.
April 28, 2022
Hey! I was wondering if you had to “apply” for the ASHA bilingual service or if you felt you met the criteria and that was it? I’m trying to figure out my next steps since I’ve been a practicing therapist for over 5 years and I speak both English/Spanish and want to make sure I portray myself correctly as a bilingual therapist. Thank you!
August 30, 2021
Thanks for sharing Liliana- I have been practicing for the past 6 years and have recently become more interested in the complexities of bilingualism, how decisions are made for our bilingual students especially when making determinations for special education based on initial testing.
I am focusing more on testing, and want to build my knowledge on really what is the best practice in regards to standardized vs non standardized and interpretation- do you have any recommendation for courses that are available online or any conferences that I should be looking into this summer? This has been my first year pretty much immersed in testing in a mostly bilingual school and one thing that I really learned is the reality that One bilingual student is One bilingual student. I am a native Spanish speaker and was immersed in a bilingual classroom in 2nd grade, so very similar to your story. Thanks for your help.
August 24, 2020
Amazing story! I loved reading about your passion for bilingualism and wanting to help serve the Latinx community. It truly is inspirational. As someone a part of the Latinx community who aspires to become bilingual in the future, this is very empowering. Thank you for sharing your journey!
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by Liliana Diaz
July 23, 2023
Have a client on your caseload that is demonstrating difficulty producing the CH sound? Perhaps you're a parent whose child is in speech therapy working on the CH sound? The CH sound can be a tricky sound to teach because it's hard to visually see what's going on inside the mouth when saying the sound. But no worries, here are some tips to help achieve that tricky CH sound.
by Liliana Diaz
February 13, 2023
by Liliana Diaz
January 12, 2023
Perhaps you recently got assigned to a new school or site that consists of a large bilingual and/or multilingual caseload, and perhaps you're not bilingual. Not speaking the student's language can be quite overwhelming and stressful (trust me, I've been there!). I know the feeling of not quite knowing where to start in intervention, or not knowing how to support your students. Well luckily, bilingual SLP, Ingrid Owens-Gonzalez has some important tips to share with all SLPs. Here are 3 things Monolingual SLPs can do to support bilingual populations today.
Who are we?
Bilingual Speechie LLC. is a small business dedicated to providing inclusive and engaging speech therapy resources and activities for bilingual children, parents, SLPs and educators.
Bilingual Speechie LLC promotes bilingualism and multilingualism by dispelling common myths, providing education on bilingual language development, and promoting heritage language maintenance amongst bilingual families.
About the Owner:
Liliana Diaz-Vazquez is a certified licensed bilingual speech language pathologist (SLP), currently practicing in Chicago, Illinois. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in communication disorders (2012) and her master’s degree in speech language pathology at Saint Xavier University (2014). She is a certified member of the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) since 2014, a member of the Illinois Speech and Hearing Association (ISHA) since 2014 and maintain licensure in the state of Illinois.
Liliana is a first-generation Mexican-American Latina, a small business owner, a full-time school-based SLP, & a bilingual parent, who takes pride in her roots, culture, & heritage language. She loves being able to share her experience as a Latina SLP, and a bilingual mom, as well as her culture & heritage language with the educator, SLP, and parent community.
Liliana Diaz-Vazquez has extensive experience working with the bilingual English and Spanish speaking population & multilingual population. She specializes in augmentative/alternative communication (AAC), bilingual language development and language delays/disorders in bilingual/multilingual children. She has also worked in the early intervention setting for several years where she gained vast experience working with interpreters and bilingual/multilingual families.
Liliana began creating digital bilingual resources and activities in 2014 out of need while working full-time in the school setting as a SLP. Liliana worked with many Spanish-speaking families and quickly realized that there were limited Spanish and bilingual speech therapy resources available for her students and their families. In addition, Liliana quickly became aware that there was a need for education about bilingualism and typical bilingual language development as many of the families she worked with had encountered misinformation about bilingualism.
Today Liliana currently works full-time in the Chicago public school setting as a lead bilingual SLP where she consults and collaborates with SLPs on a daily basis to help them understand how to asses and provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services for bilingual and/or multilingual students. She also runs her small business Bilingual Speechie LLC and is on a mission to expand and grow her business so that all SLPs, educators and families can have access to inclusive, diverse and bilingual resources for speech therapy.
Liliana has vast experience as a speaker/presenter and has presented at several conferences over the years. You can view all previous conferences and topics that Liliana has presented on here. Liliana is available to present on topics such as best practices when working with multilingual populations, bilingual speech/language assessment and treatment, goal writing with multilingual populations and much more. If you are interested in booking Liliana for a conference or event please don't hesitate to send an email at email@example.com