COHFA | Global Languages Senior Colloquium

Title

Wrongly Classified: The Misdiagnosis of Specific Language Impairment Among Spanish-English Bilingual Children

Presenter Information

Taylor Stinson-TannerFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Communication Disorders / Spanish double major

Minor

N/A

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Martin Kane

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

Wrongly Classified: The Misdiagnosis of Specific Language Impairment Among Spanish-English Bilingual Children

The growing number of Spanish speakers in the United States has caused a need for speech-language pathologists to be increasingly culturally competent, while also having a deeper understanding of bilingual acquisition, in order to properly diagnose Spanish-English bilingual clients with speech and language disorders. However, the method of diagnosing specific language impairment (SLI), a language disorder that cannot be accounted for by any other physical or mental abnormalities, in Spanish-English bilingual speaking children is still debated by professionals. Some scholars, such as Ronald Gillam Ph.D., believe assessing the client in only English is a proper method, while others, such as Dolores Battle Ph.D., believe the child should be assessed in both Spanish and English. The assessment controversy has led bilingual children without or without SLI to be inadvertently misdiagnosed by speech-language pathologists. This study aims to discuss the controversy behind the varying methods of diagnosing SLI and offer a potential course of action to further educate speech-language pathologists on bilingual acquisition of language. I argue that an agreed upon manner of assessment should be implemented in order to decrease misdiagnosis of SLI and that speech-language pathologists have an obligation to have deeper understandings of bilingual language acquisition, as the increasing amount of languages spoken in the United States correlates with more potential bilingual clients and further misdiagnosis.

Spring Scholars Week 2020 Event

GLT 400

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Wrongly Classified: The Misdiagnosis of Specific Language Impairment Among Spanish-English Bilingual Children

Wrongly Classified: The Misdiagnosis of Specific Language Impairment Among Spanish-English Bilingual Children

The growing number of Spanish speakers in the United States has caused a need for speech-language pathologists to be increasingly culturally competent, while also having a deeper understanding of bilingual acquisition, in order to properly diagnose Spanish-English bilingual clients with speech and language disorders. However, the method of diagnosing specific language impairment (SLI), a language disorder that cannot be accounted for by any other physical or mental abnormalities, in Spanish-English bilingual speaking children is still debated by professionals. Some scholars, such as Ronald Gillam Ph.D., believe assessing the client in only English is a proper method, while others, such as Dolores Battle Ph.D., believe the child should be assessed in both Spanish and English. The assessment controversy has led bilingual children without or without SLI to be inadvertently misdiagnosed by speech-language pathologists. This study aims to discuss the controversy behind the varying methods of diagnosing SLI and offer a potential course of action to further educate speech-language pathologists on bilingual acquisition of language. I argue that an agreed upon manner of assessment should be implemented in order to decrease misdiagnosis of SLI and that speech-language pathologists have an obligation to have deeper understandings of bilingual language acquisition, as the increasing amount of languages spoken in the United States correlates with more potential bilingual clients and further misdiagnosis.