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Suffolk Center for Speech


Tips for Assessing Bilingual Children as a Monolingual SLP

How to go about assessing bilingual children as a monolingual SLP regarding all languages.

  • Conduct a family/caregiver interview:
    • Minimize bias
    • Gain insight to expectations and the possibility for deficits
  • Use an interpreter
    • Meet prior to review process, terminology, and expectations
    • Obtain key information such as: “It was very hard for me to understand him,” or, “He doesn’t use prepositions correctly.” This along withadditional testing measures can help support or negate a true disorder.
  • Use highly pragmatic tests
    • if formal/standardized testing is not available in the child’s primary language. 
    • These tests will help determine the client’s grasp of conversational language, which is the first building block to more complex language.
    • You cannot report standard scores when using standardized testing notnormed for that language. You can use the information as qualitative data to support the rest of your findings.
  • Employ dynamic assessment
    • a pretest of a skill, an intervention to address that skill, and then a post-test to determine if there was progress.
  • Include a communication sample in any communication evaluation:
    • Determine how language is used through the use of a conversation or story.

Be mindful:

  • The silent period occurs when a client is first exposed to a new language.
    • Can be misdiagnosed with another disorder or language delay
    • Lasts up to 6 months to a year
  • Bilingual development is recognized in two stages.
    • Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS), also known as “conversational language,” typically takes two to three years to acquire.
    • Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP), also known as “academic language,” takes five to seven years to develop. 
    • common misidentifications during these phrases are Language Disorder and Specific Learning Disability.


Rosemary D.

by Suffolk Center for Speech | with 0 Comments

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