Top 5 Characteristics of Bilingual SLPs

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Bilingual speech-language pathologist (SLP) have a unique skillset. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, only 6.5% of speech-language pathologists identify as being bilingual or multilingual. Not only are they experts in typical language development and communication disorders in their native language, but they also understand the same concepts in another language. As we celebrate Better Hearing and Speech Month, we wanted to highlight all the amazing characteristics of bilingual SLPs.  We are so proud of the services they offer their students, families, and communities as a bilingual SLP.

Can Provide Assessment and Treatment in the Student’s Native Language

Bilingual SLPs can support children in their native language, they are able to maintain the important connection to their family and community.  They can take what they have learned in the speech room and move that in to their home, allowing families to become a part of that student’s progress.

Are Culturally Competent

Bilingual SLPs have a unique passion for providing services to students and families that are culturally and linguistically diverse. They have worked on becoming culturally competent in order to provide services to children from a variety of cultural backgrounds. They understand what it is to learn and speak a second language.  This perspective helps them when working with families and students with whom they may not share a common language with. 

Are Well-Versed in Typical and Second Language Development

In addition to understanding English language development, bilingual SLPs must also understand the differences involved in second language development. This knowledge helps them when consulting with teachers regarding what is typical for second language learner. It also allows them to answer whether the student is presenting with a “language disorder or a language difference” when doing speech and language assessments. 

Serve as a Resource of Information on Second Language Acquisition and Bilingual Language Learning

Many parents and school staff have questions when it comes to learning a second language. They may also have inaccurate information regarding how children with disabilities develop a second language.  With their knowledge of bilingual language development, they become a great resource by dispelling common myths with current research in bilingual language development.  They also share information regarding the benefits of bilingualism for students.

Are Advocates

Bilingual SLPs, are advocates for their students and their families.  They can support them by orienting them to the special education system and their rights.  They also provide them with information about their communication needs and ways to support them as they develop their language skills.  Bilingual SLPs also provide school staff with current information regarding second language development which can help reduce over-identification. By doing this, they become an important ally in helping their students succeed.

Interested in learning more about becoming a part of the Bilingual Therapies family? Contact the team to learn more about Bilingual Therapies and how to take your SLP career to the next level. 

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