Maria Adelaida Restrepo Ph,D, CCC-SLP, is an associate professor in the Department of Speech and Hearing Science at Arizona State University. She currently heads three funded projects on intervention for English Language Learners through Tier 2 interventions or professional training of preschool teachers, and one funded project in assessment of Spanish-speaking children. She is a bilingual Speech-Language Pathologist who has worked in schools and a variety of settings with Latin-American children and families. Her research and writing focus on best practices in speech and language assessment and intervention with bilingual populations and prevention of academic failure in children at risk due to language or environmental issues.
What is a bilingual speech and language assessment? Children who speak a language other than English and children who are bilingual need to be evaluated in their native language or the languages that they speak. When children are evaluated only in one of the languages, or in the language in which they are least proficient, such as English for English Language Learners (ELLs), they are often misdiagnosed with speech and language problems when they do not exist, or the nature of the child’s difficulty is not determined accurately (Artiles, Rueda, Salazar, & Higareda, 2005). Some times, however, we find that the monolingual speech-language pathologist (SLP) evaluating a child who is learning English overcorrects for the lack of knowledge of the child’s native language and culture, and misses that the child has a disability by attributing low performance to cultural and linguistic difference.