Publication Date

Spring 2017


College of Arts and Sciences




Spanish-English Bilingual Language Acquisition, Bilingual Speech Therapy


Spanish-English bilingual speech therapy is a growing field in the United States, especially in the public school system. The Spanish speaking population in America is increasing, and Spanish-English bilingual children require different speech assessments and treatment from English monolingual children. The bilingual language development process is different, which affects how speech language pathologists (SLPs) need to assess and treat those clients. International studies help add to existing and guide the creation of future bilingual speech therapy programs, but non-English or Spanish language-specific techniques are not very useful. Another consideration is language and cultural barriers, which hinder the ability of a therapist to communicate effectively with the parents. Collaboration is a part of treatment plans, and SLPs are responsible for providing the best care possible and continuing training in relevant areas, making Spanish-English bilingual individuals a high demand in the field. There are not many SLP programs with a bilingual focus in the United States, which means that there are not many certified bilingual speech therapists. Given the growing need for bilingual speech therapists, this makes it challenging for SLPs to fulfill their ethical obligations. As the need for bilingual SLPs intensifies, members of the field should work towards providing therapists with the necessary training to treat the unique needs of bilingual clients.