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by Liliana Diaz
August 04, 2019
It can be super challenging to evaluate a student that speaks a completely different language other than the one you speak. With so many languages that exist in our world, (over 6,500 languages to be exact) as a SLP, you are bound to encounter a student that speaks another language other than English. According to the American Speech Hearing Association (ASHA) only about 6.4% of SLPs speak another language other than English, this may also mean that finding a bilingual SLP that speaks the language you need to assess may not always be accessible. So what do you do?
Use an interpreter. Meet with the interpreter prior to meeting with family in order to review the process, terminology, and what you want him or her to do. Ensure that you obtain a licensed interpreter and try to avoid using someone within the child’s family as a translator in order to reduce bias during the evaluation. Interpreters can provide lots of insightful information.
Conduct an in-depth family/caregiver interview. Caregivers can provide accurate information about a child’s communication strength and weaknesses. Understanding the family’s point of view about the child’s strengths or areas of need can provide a SLP with lots of insight about the child’s culture values, education status, language use and communication deficits.
Consider using non-standardized speech-language assessments, pragmatic tests, language samples or criterion referenced assessments. If formal/standardized assessments are not available in the child’s primary language, then consider utilizing non-standardized assessments like pragmatic check-lists or obtaining a language sample. These types of assessments will help determine the client’s understanding and use of conversational language, which is a building block to more complex language.
It is important to remember that it is not appropriate to translate standardized assessments in the student’s language in order to reach a standard score. These scores become invalid once translated because norm criteria is not based on the student’s language. In addition, SLPs cannot report standard scores when using assessments that are not normed for a specific language.
Utilize Dynamic Assessment. Research suggests that dynamic assessment when combined with other types of assessments can be the most useful when assessing bilingual children. Dynamic assessment is a method of assessment which uses a “test-teach-retest” model. It can help us determine difference versus disorder when working with children that speak another language other than English. Dynamic assessment focuses on the child’s ability to acquire the skills after being tested and after being exposed to instruction. Children who are able to make significant changes after short-term learning or intervention sessions are very likely to have language differences and not language disorders.
Use your Resources. ASHA always has great evidence-based articles that can assist you during your evaluation process. ASHA also has information about phonemic inventories of various languages as well as current research articles about several topics. Remember to look up current research about your student’s culture, phonemic inventory or language differences. Dr. Elizabeth Peña who is a professor at the University of Texas is a very well-known researcher in our field that does lots of research on culturally and linguistically diverse populations and/or bilingualism. Furthermore, utilize evidence-based practice books as resources. Bilinguisitics has a great book called Difference or Disorder which includes language patterns of several languages. They also have some E-Books with developmental norms in Spanish. In addition, websites can also be very useful. The Leaders Project (Law and Evidence-based Approaches for Disability Evaluation and Resources), founded and directed by Dr. Cate Crowley has great information about working with diverse populations and bilingual children. This website has information on the law, research, and current clinical practices related to assessment, treatment, and intervention both in the United States and internationally.
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by Liliana Diaz
April 29, 2021
I learned several tips and other information as I began to work with an interpreter for the first time. For the very first time, I knew exactly how it felt like to be a monolingual SLP. I took this opportunity as a learning experience and reflected on how I can improve my family communication skills, cultural awareness and humility while working with these families. Continue reading to learn about some of the key points I took away while working with interpreters.
by Liliana Diaz
February 25, 2021
As speech language pathologists, we need to be able to determine exactly where our bilingual student falls on the bilingual continuum by measuring the his/her language dominance in both languages. Why is this important and how do we do this you may ask? I will answer your questions down below:
by Liliana Diaz
February 04, 2021
Welcome! I am Bilingual Speechie and this is my speech therapy blog! Here you will find bilingual (English & Spanish) resources & activities for speech language therapy! I am here to make the lives of all bilingual SLPs easier!
My name is Liliana Diaz-Vazquez and I obtained my bachelor’s degree in communication disorders in 2012 and my master’s degree in speech language pathology at Saint Xavier University in 2014.
I am a certified, licensed bilingual speech language pathologist (SLP) currently practicing in Chicago, Illinois. I have a passion with working with the bilingual population! I specialize in pediatrics with children ranging in ages from 1-18 years old and I predominantly serve bilingual and predominately Spanish-speaking students in general education programs, blended preschool programs and low-incidence programs.
I currently work full time in the public-school setting and part time in early intervention. I also run my own blog and create all sorts of bilingual resources/activities which I use with my own clients. I have extensive experience treating and evaluating a variety of disorders. I have worked with children with autism, Down syndrome, cognitive impairments, learning disabilities, apraxia, fluency disorders, language disorders and developmental delays.
My areas of expertise include augmentative/alternative communication (AAC), bilingual language development and the assessment and treatment of language delays/disorders in bilingual children.
I am 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.
Aside from working with families and children, I am a part time foodie! Follow me on social media to check out all my food adventures within Chicago!