Bilingual Graduate Programs: What Students Should Know and How They Can Prepare

Raquel Anderson, Ph.D. CCC-SLP. Bilingual Speech-Language Pathologist, Bloomington, IN

Raquel Anderson is an associate professor in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences at Indiana University, Bloomington Campus. She teaches and conducts research in the areas of child language disorders, with a special on child second language acquisition. In particular, she studies children with language learning deficits who are Spanish-speaking and in an English language immersion context. Her research aims at describing how different language learners are impacted by sociolinguistic environment. Because of the difficulty in identifying language disability in second language learners, her research focuses on identifying potential clinical markers of language learning deficits in second language learners. Dr. Anderson has been the recipient of various grants, including a research grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the grammatical skills of Spanish-speaking children in monolingual and bilingual environments with a diagnosis of specific language impairment (SLI). She has presented locally, nationally, and internationally in the areas of child language learning disorders, second language acquisition and communication assessment of diverse children. She has published extensively in the area of child language and second language acquisition in children with and without language impairment. She most recently received a training grant from the Office of Special Education Programs, Department of Education to implement a clinical graduate training program focused on working with Latino children and their families (Speech Therapy Education, Practicum and Services for Latino Children and Families – STEPS). Dr. Anderson also coordinates the Training in Research and Academic Careers in Communication Sciences (TRACCS), a summer research program aimed at increasing the number of individuals from underrepresented groups pursuing academic and research careers in communication disorders. ¡Feliz año Nuevo 2010! Welcome to the first blog of the year. The purpose of this blog is to provide practical information to individuals who are considering a profession as speech-language pathologists (SLP) with an emphasis on working with the growing culturally and linguistically diverse population in the United States. As most of us who work with individuals from diverse backgrounds, fluency in a language other than English, although important, is not sufficient preparation for serving individuals from diverse groups. Background knowledge in a variety of areas that are unfortunately not presented in detail within the typical graduate curriculum in SLP is needed. This includes coursework that covers in depth bilingual language development and disorders, alternative assessment methods, cultural differences and their impact in service provision, working with diverse families, and language development, use and disorders particular to the target language. In addition, clinical experiences embedded within the graduate program where students, under the guidance of a supervisor with the needed linguistic and experiential/academic preparation, work directly with families from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds is also important. Read More »