The Bilingual IEP Meeting Toolkit: How to Advocate for Language Access



Course Type: Video – 1 1/2 hours

ASHA Course Code: Diversity Equity and Inclusion in Service Delivery – 7030

A major contributor to misdiagnosis of bilingual children with speech and language impairment is the use of standardized test scores. This presentation addresses the use of standardized tests and misdiagnosis and provides information on interpretation of policy on diagnostic eligibility for services.


Join Dr. Leah Fabiano, Professor and Director of the PhD program at the University of Pittsburgh, as she shares how to successfully advocate for the use of best practices to qualify bilingual children for services.

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If you test diverse children you need this book!

Additional Information


Early Childhood, School Age


1.5 hours


.15 Continuing Education Units


Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI), Evaluations



Dr. Leah Fabiano is a Professor and Director of the PhD program in the Department of Communication Science and Disorders at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests focus on phonological development and impairments in bilingual Spanish-English speaking children and clinical issues related to racially and ethnically minoritized children.

Financial Disclosures: Dr. Fabiano receives a salary from the University of Pittsburgh and her research program is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute for Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). Dr. Fabiano is receiving an honorarium for this presentation.

Non-Financial Disclosures: None

Federal databases illustrate an over-representation of Latinx children receiving speech and language services (U.S. Department of Education, 2018). A major contributor to this problem is the use of standardized test scores designed for monolingual English-speaking children to qualify children who are bilingual (Skahan, Watson, & Lof, 2007). Bilingual children are often qualified for speech and language services based on a single standardized test score (Kraemer & Fabiano-Smith, 2017). Clinicians report that the lack of appropriate assessment tools is a major challenge in working with bilingual populations (Guiberson & Atkins, 2012); however, school districts continue to demand scores to make qualification and funding decisions (Klingner et al., 2006).

Recent work reported that standardized tests over-qualify 1 in 3 bilingual children for speech and language services (Barragan, et al., 2018) and up to 9% of bilingual children are misdiagnosed due to the use of standardized tests in some states (Klingner & Artiles, 2003, p. 67). Graduate programs in speech-language pathology remain focused on a monolingual English training model (ASHA, 2020) and 95% of ASHA-certified clinicians report no bilingual skills (ASHA, 2013). This presentation will address how standardized tests over-qualify children, will provide information on interpretation of federal and state policy on diagnostic eligibility for services, will provide strategies for advocating for the use of informal measures to qualify/disqualify bilingual children for services in IEP meetings, and will detail steps we can take as a field to empower parents and increase our quality of care to avoid systematic discrimination.

Participants will be able to:
• List evidence-based approaches to speech and language assessment in bilinguals
• Describe the role of the interpreter in the IEP meeting and strategies for recruitment and retention of interpreters in SLP
• List 3 advocacy skills in the role of language expert in the IEP meeting for bilingual children and families
• Describe how to use reciprocal carryover in communicating with parents during ethnographic interview

Time-Ordered Agenda
15 minutes Introduction to Bilingualism in the US
05 minutes Misdiagnosis of Communication Disorders in Bilingual Peds
30 minutes Bilingual Assessment – Tips for Efficient Sessions
20 minutes Meeting Tips
10 minutes IEP Meetings and Parent Empowerment
10 minutes Moderated Question and Answer Session

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