Education

The Current and Growing Need for Multicultural/Multilingual Preparation

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has reported that the prevalence of communication disorders is approximately 10% of the population.  This means that more than 31 million people in the U.S. are affected by speech, language, and/or hearing disorders which negatively impact their social, academic, and occupational communication skills.  The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics (2013) estimates that the number of speech-language pathologists will grow by 23.4 percent over the next 10 years, with approximately 28,000 new jobs in speech-language pathology by 2020.

There is a significant need for more speech-language pathologists, and in particular, greater numbers of professionals with specialized training to serve culturally and linguistically diverse populations.  Approximately 1 in 5 people in the U.S. speak a language other than English.  Therefore, more than 6 million people would benefit from the services of a bilingual speech-language pathologist to help them meet the communication demands in the social, academic, and occupational contexts of their daily lives.  In the state of Illinois, 22.2% of individuals speak a language other than English at home (U.S. Census, 2010).  According the American Community Survey (ACS), the ten most commonly spoken languages after English in Illinois are Spanish (58.60%), Polish (7.54%), Tagalog (2.94), Chinese (2.25%), German (1.89%), Korean (1.89%), Arabic (1.75%), Urdu (1.61%), Russian (1.61%), and Italian (1.56%).

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To help meet the demand for professionals who can provide optimal services to diverse populations, the graduate program in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Elmhurst College will begin offering a Multicultural/Multilingual (M&M) Emphasis in the fall of 2015.  Such an emphasis is urgently needed in the greater Chicago area and many areas of Illinois where speech-language pathologists and audiologists serve individuals from numerous language backgrounds.  This emphasis is designed for students with oral proficiency in more than one language who wish to pursue specialized academic, research, and clinical experiences to meet the unique needs of culturally and linguistically diverse populations.

In accordance with ASHA’s practice policy (please see http://www.asha.org/policy/KS2004-00215/), the emphasis will foster students’ language proficiency, cultural competence, knowledge of typical and atypical speech and language development in diverse speakers, and their ability to provide appropriate assessment and intervention to diverse populations through a combination of coursework, clinical experience, and if students choose, an international travel experience.

We are excited about this effort to better serve our communities in the greater Chicago area and beyond.

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ASHA 2014 is here!

Orlando, here we come! We can’t believe the 2014 ASHA Convention is upon us. We’ve been packing our bags, running through last minute checklists, and checking our weather apps to make sure Florida still reports sunny and warm. Tomorrow we take flight for our favorite event of the year! To say we are excited would be an understatement.

As always, we can’t wait to see friends old (we’ve been looking through last year’s School Spirit Challenge!) and new, gather some fun goodies, and explore and celebrate this year’s theme, “Science. Learning. Practice. Generations of Discovery.” This year will be very special with a keynote presentation by the Belafonte family on passing down a passion for social activism through the generations. We can’t think of a better way to begin a week of learning and fellowship than with an inspiring presentation from three extraordinary activists.

Met some great students last year (from so many places!). Can't wait for Florida! #asha #asha14 #slpeeps

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After the keynote presentation and throughout the convention, we invite you to stop by our booths in the exhibit hall (1145) and career fair (979). Staff members at both booths will be available to tell you more about career opportunities with LinguaHealth, including our Bilingual Immersion Program. Also, Sara will be conducting interviews all day Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Email Sara at sarap@linguahealth.com to schedule your interview today!

We hope you are all as excited as we are for the 2014 ASHA Convention. See you there!

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Cozy up with some good reads

Dr. Brenda K. Gorman, Contributing Author

Hello everyone. I hope you’ve been enjoying the beautiful autumn and rustling leaves. Rustling, hustling, bustling – it’s been very busy around here preparing for multiple local area presentations and the upcoming ASHA convention on the topic of dual language learners (DLLs).  I’ve also been receiving many requests for recommended reading resources on the topic of DLLs, even a couple from physicians!  The interest is very encouraging, so I would like to share some of my favorite resources below.  As it’s getting a bit chillier, you might want to cozy up with some good reads.

Assessment Resources

Pearson, B. Z., Fernandez, S. C., & Oller, D. K. (1993). Lexical development in bilingual infants and toddlers: Comparison to monolingual norms. Language Learning, 43(1), 93-120.

Peña, E.D., Gillam, R.B., Bedore, L.M., & Bohman, T.M. (2011). Risk for poor performance on a language screening measure for bilingual preschoolers and kindergartenersAmerican Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 20, 302-314. Supporting video: Can Special Needs Kids Be Bilingual?

Simón-Cereijido, G., & Gutiérrez-Clellen, V. (2009). A cross-linguistic and bilingual evaluation of the interdependence between lexical and grammatical domains. Applied Psycholinguistics, 30, 315-337.

Williams, C.J., & McLeod, S. (2012). Speech-language pathologists’ assessment and intervention practices with multilingual children. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 14(3), 292-305.

Intervention Resources

Gorman, B.K., Brice, A.E., & Berman, S. (2012). Reading acquisition program for Spanish-speakers. Perspectives on Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations, 19, 49-57.

Lugo-Neris, M. J., Jackson, C. W., & Goldstein, H. (2010). Facilitating vocabulary acquisition of young English language learners. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 41(3), 314–327.

Perozzi, J. A., & Chavez Sanchez, M. L. (1992). The effect of instruction in L1 on receptive acquisition of L2 for bilingual children with language delay. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 23, 348–352.

Ulanoff, S. H., & Pucci, S. L. (1999). Learning words from books: The effects of read aloud on second language vocabulary acquisition. Bilingual Research Journal, 23(4), 319-332.

DLLs with Special Needs

Hambly, C., & Fombonne, E. The impact of bilingual environments on language development in children with Autism Spectrum DisordersJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (Online First, 22 September 2011). Supporting video: Can Special Needs Kids Be Bilingual?

Kay-Raining Bird, E., Cleave, P., Trudeau, N., Thordardottir, E., Sutton, A., & Thorpe, A. (2005). The language abilities of bilingual children with Down syndrome. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 14, 187–199.  Explores the capacity of Down syndrome children to acquire more than one language. This research is noted by Dr. Brenda Gorman in the Grupo Lingua YouTube video: Can Special Needs Kids Be Bilingual?

Kohnert, K., Yim, D., Nett, K., Kan, P. F., & Duran, L. (2005). Intervention with linguistically diverse preschool children: A focus on developing home language(s)Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 36, 251-263. Supporting video: Can Special Needs Kids Be Bilingual?

Petersen, J.M., Marinova-Todd, S.H., & Mirenda, P. Brief report: An exploratory study of lexical skills in bilingual children with Autism Spectrum DisorderJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, (Online First, 27 September 2011). Supporting video: Can Special Needs Kids Be Bilingual?

Bilingual Children and Educational Issues

Age of First Bilingual Language Exposure as a New Window into Bilingual Reading Development, Kovelman

Menken, K., & Antunez, B. (2001). An overview of the preparation and certification of teachers working with limited English proficient students. Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse of Bilingual Education.

Rolstad, K., Mahoney, K., & Glass, G. V. (2005). The big picture: A meta-analysis of program effectiveness research on English Language Learners. Educational Policy, 19(4), 572-594.

Slavin, R. E., & Cheung, A. (2003).  Effective reading programs for English language learners: A best-evidence synthesis. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed At Risk (CRESPAR).

Compilation of articles, journals and publications regarding bilingualism effects on cognitive development and language acquisition and development

Bailystok’s research is referenced by Dr. Brenda Gorman in Grupo Lingua’s YouTube video “Myths about Bilingual Children”. Bialystok-references come from a compilation of sources of her work in this area.

Multiple articles addressing bilingualism from the Center for Applied Linguistics

Halloween and Health Literacy Month

Dr. Brenda K. Gorman, Contributing Author

October is one of my kids’ favorite months, for Halloween, you know. Well, October is one of my favorite “professional” months, for Health Literacy Month. Okay, I suppose that as a person who is passionate about promoting literacy, every month is literacy month in my book. But in any case, it is so important that professionals spread information about the critical relationship between language and literacy.

We know that language learning starts at birth. Therefore, the idea that children learn to read in school needs to change to reflect the reality that both language and literacy develop from birth.

Recently, I supervised a graduate student who taught a parent to use dialogic book reading strategies with a young child who reportedly disliked sitting down to read with his parents. Dialogic reading is a concept based on the work of Dr. Grover Whitehurst and the Stony Brook Reading and Language Project. According to Dr. Whitehurst, “In dialogic reading, the adult helps the child become the teller of the story. The adult becomes the listener, the questioner, the audience for the child.” We were, of course, taking data on the child’s vocabulary and language growth, but the data simply did not capture the full impact of treatment. Watching the child sit on his parent’s lap while sharing a book, both smiling and so cozy together, it was marvelous. Dialogic reading was just one component of the broader speech and language therapy plan, but with the transformation in their interaction, it may have been the most powerful component. And although the young child had not yet formally learned to read, he was already developing a love of reading.

I talk a lot about a remarkable program called Reach Out and Read in which medical providers support healthy reading practices in the home with children as young as six months old. I have had the privilege of presenting at the Reach Out and Read-Wisconsin annual conference, and I encourage everyone to spread the word about this phenomenal program.  Check out and share this video that the founders developed, available on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRq2qDT2HHg.

Hmmm, maybe I should give out books with a piece of candy inside this year for Halloween. Now that would be a real treat!


Whitehurst, G. J. (1992). Dialogic reading: An effective way to read to preschoolers. Retrieved: http://www.readingrockets.org/article/400?theme=print

Pondering the dynamics of “what children really need”

Dr. Brenda K. Gorman, Contributing Author

I am hearing so much discussion and debate about the impact of standardized testing that takes place in schools throughout the year. Naturally, I’ve studied this issue from an academic perspective for a long time. More recently, I’ve been exposed to family perspectives, and this makes me wonder about speech-language objectives, which I’ll come back to in a moment.

Parents want to know how their children are performing and progressing, which test scores can show very objectively, yet many are increasingly concerned with stress associated with testing and that the heavy test emphasis on two specific areas, reading and math, may be narrowing the scope of academic instruction to benefit results on paper. Therefore, to paraphrase what I am often hearing, many are concerned that kids are not learning “what they really need.” Clearly, the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in life, personally, professionally, economically, and so forth, are extremely broad.

So of course, because language is a critical foundation for success, I see parallels between the issues and concerns related to education and what we as speech-language pathologists do in language intervention. Specific goals and objectives are important for accountability and for evaluating our clients’ progress in language intervention. Yet, similarly, I wonder if the specificity of our objectives may also limit our focus on teaching the child “what they really need” to succeed. Are some kids in the therapy group kept busy by coloring for a few moments while the clinician targets a specific discrete skill with another child? I think many of us have seen that. Is a child who meets that objective of 90% accuracy on past tense –ed ready to graduate from speech-language therapy? Does marking that objective as “achieved” mean that we have “fixed” the child’s impaired language system? Are we focusing primarily on discrete skills or are we integrating skills into relevant activities such as discourse? Just as I see the benefits of discussing the dynamics of “what children really need” to learn in school, I also encourage SLPs to discuss with each other the dynamics of what language skills children really need to be successful socially and academically, and to talk about how our goals and objectives truly help “fix” an impaired language system.