Welcome to the final installment of Accents, Dialects, and Speech Therapy. It’s taken me a little longer to get this last post finished because, well…life happens. The past two weeks have been a whirlwind! But it’s finally ready and I am excited to tell you we are ending with a GIVEAWAY! Details at the end of this post.
For this post, I want to run through the steps I go through if I get a referral for a student who speaks more than one language. First off, it is important that you follow your school district’s guidelines for initiating the referral and/or RTI process. In my district, I am not to test/screen students without parental consent. If a teacher has speech-language concerns with a particular student, I help them gather information and often guide them through the process, but I do not test/screen the student initially until consent has been granted.
For articulation concerns, I have a “teacher friendly” easy articulation screener that I give to my teachers so they can gather more info to guide the process. It allows them to document specific phoneme errors, which we can use to determine what the next step will be.
For language concerns, the teachers document specific areas of concern and track any interventions they have tried to help the student.
Once we determine that a student is ready for a full speech-language evaluation and parental consent has been obtained, then my work begins.
One of the very first pieces of information I look for in my referral packets is what language(s) the student speaks at home and school. This will guide the rest of my evaluation process.
For students who are bilingual, or in the ESL program, it is so very important to make sure they are tested in their primary language. If they have a true speech-language disorder, it will be present in their native language. It is important to learn everything you can about the student’s primary language to determine if they are presenting with a language difference or a language disorder. With articulation, there may be English phonemes that are not present in the child’s first language. With language, their primary language may follow a different structure than English. These differences will impact their use of English. This step takes some time and good resources. I generally turn to the ASHA website and Bilinguistics (which both have great information on different languages/dialects) as I gather my information.
Once I have completed my testing, I analyze the information and use my resources and data to determine whether the child has a speech-language disorder or not. The process takes some time, but the information gathered is so valuable. When we sit down to discuss the evaluation with the parents/teachers, I can feel confident in my findings knowing I used great resources to back up my determination and have a good plan for goal writing if needed.
Bilinguistics has a fantastic book, Difference or Disorder, in which they lay out the common speech-language characteristics of more than 10 different languages. The chapters include specific language/dialectal features including phonology, vocabulary, and syntax. They also include easy to read visuals, and information from native speakers of each language on cultural factors that are relevant to that language. (Amazon Affiliate link posted below)
I use the Bilinguistics website often, and I have recently added the Difference or Disorder book to my personal library. It’s an excellent resource, and I am sure you will love it, too. For this reason, I am excited that I get to give a FREE copy to one lucky reader! Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below. I will select the winner Tuesday morning (3/8/16).
***Please note: I am not affiliated with Bilinguistics in any way. They are providing the Difference or Disorder book for the giveaway, but I received no compensation in return. This post reflects my personal opinions/experiences.
I have had a great time exploring the world of accents, dialects and speech therapy with all of you. I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have and found some useful information/resources. a Rafflecopter giveaway