Evidence-based practice can help ASHA’s speech-language pathologists provide culturally competent care and properly identify language deficits. Developed from presentations at last year’s Research Symposium at the ASHA Convention, the latest forum in JSLHR is here to help.

Guest Editor Leah Fabiano brings readers six articles focused on new ways to serve bilingual students. Read more about the forum below!

Speech and Language Acquisition in Spanish–English Speakers

The forum opens with an introduction by Fabiano discussing the way that researchers and clinicians can help bilingual children, as well as introducing the articles and highlighting the forum’s intentions. “All children deserve our best efforts and most skilled contributions so they can communicate in the languages of their choosing,” she writes (Fabiano, 2023, p. 4676).

Next, Castilla-Earls and colleagues studied the development of Spanish morphosyntactic structures in bilingual children with and without developmental language disorder (DLD). Later in the forum, Peña et al. studied language dominance patterns in Spanish–English bilingual children with and without DLD; their results challenge existing assumptions about bilingual language delay.

Sieg and colleagues found that bilingual children, including those with phonological disorders, used their existing phoneme-level knowledge in one language to help learn the other. Elsewhere in the forum, Kaushanskaya explored how bilingual children combine languages, showing how language learning in Spanish bolstered language learning in English.

More Research on Bilingual Children

Although bilingual Spanish–English speakers make up the majority of bilingual students in a typical SLP’s caseload, SLPs often work with students from other language backgrounds. Two articles in the forum discuss assessment and research in children from Jamaican and Vietnamese backgrounds.

First, Washington et al. showed that SLPs can use culturally responsive methods to more accurately characterize speech, language, and functional communication in Jamaican-speaking children. In another review article, Pham discussed typical Vietnamese–English bilingual development, Vietnamese reading performance, and characteristics of DLD in speakers of Vietnamese.

Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in the ASHA Journals

As the number of bilingual children continues to increase across America, we hope that this forum can help you offer evidence-based, culturally competent care. If you’re looking for more resources, our topic collection on Cultural and Linguistic Diversity contains more than 2,500 articles, and with hundreds of articles publishing every year across ASHA’s journals, we’re always adding more.

We’d like to thank Dr. Fabiano and all of the authors for their work on this tremendous resource for ASHA’s researchers and clinicians. You can read the forum in the latest issue of JSLHR or explore the individual articles below.

Explore the Forum

Castilla-Earls, A., Ronderos, J., & Fitton, L. (2023). Spanish bilingual morphosyntactic development in bilingual children with and without developmental language disorder: Articles, clitics, verbs, and the subjunctive mood. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 66(12), 4678–4698. https://doi.org/10.1044/2023_JSLHR-23-00091

Fabiano, L. (2023). Introduction to the 2022 Research Symposium Forum. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 66(12), 4673–4677. https://doi.org/10.1044/2023_JSLHR-23-00661

Kaushanskaya, M. (2023). Combining languages in bilingual input: Using experimental evidence to formulate bilingual exposure strategies. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 66(12), 4771–4784. https://doi.org/10.1044/2023_JSLHR-23-00181

Peña, E. D., Bedore, L. M., & Vargas, A. G. (2023). Exploring assumptions of the bilingual delay in children with and without developmental language disorder. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 66(12), 4739–4755. https://doi.org/10.1044/2023_JSLHR-23-00117

Pham, G. T. (2023). A narrative approach to synthesizing research on Vietnamese bilingual and monolingual children. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 66(12), 4756–4770. https://doi.org/10.1044/2023_JSLHR-23-00047

Sieg, S. R., Fabiano-Smith, L., & Barlow, J. (2023). Substitution errors and the role of markedness in bilingual phonological acquisition. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 66(12), 4699–4715. https://doi.org/10.1044/2023_JSLHR-23-00116

Washington, K. N., Karem, R. W., Kokotek, L. E., & León, M. (2023). Supporting culturally responsive assessment practices with preschoolers: Guidance from methods in the Jamaican context. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 66(12), 4716–4738. https://doi.org/10.1044/2023_JSLHR-23-00106