English Language Learners: Speech-Language Pathologists

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Speech-language pathologists play a significant role in evaluation and intervention with English Language Learners. More and more SLPs are playing a teacher role in the academic environment. The role and responsibility of a speech-language pathologist is essential when identifying the most ethical and appropriate services to meet the individual needs of the student. However, evaluating ELL students can be challenging from a clinical standpoint and typically is complicated by many factors including, personal, institutional, and society interests. Many school based SLPs are not proficient in a second language and therefore are not adequately trained to provide nonbiased bilingual assessments. Current practices in speech-language pathology support the decision making process for the family and their priorities when identifying assessment and treatment options. Consideration for implementing strategies that will benefit the student most should not be overlooked. There are some key questions that may be influential when providing assessments to ELLs. First and foremost, the clinician needs to figure out the most ethical question, which would be whether or not it is obligatory, permissible, or impermissible for a monolingual SLP to conduct an evaluation of a child whose L1 is not English. The process of evaluating an ELL is often associated with much uncertainty so should be carefully monitored over a period of time. Next, the SLP needs to take note of all the relevant
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