Linguistic Abilities of Service Providers and Service Delivery



Cultural and linguistic competencies play a critical role in speech-language pathology services when working with people from diverse linguistic backgrounds with communication disorders (CD; Hopf et al., 2021). The personal experiences of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) influence their cultural and linguistic competence skills. Training programs that consider these personal factors might address the unique needs of the SLPs based on their experiences. The current research explores the connection between the linguistic backgrounds of the SLPs and the challenges and needs they reported while assessing multilingual children with CD.


This study uses a survey method for documenting and comparing 105 SLPs with varying linguistic backgrounds - monolingual, bilingual, and multilingual - on their reported challenges and needs associated with evaluating communication abilities in children from multilingual families with CD.


Although all the SLPs worked with children from multilingual families, their linguistic backgrounds introduced differences in their clinical assessment opinions. Across all SLPs in the study, common challenges were the limited availability of interpreters, dedicated assessment materials, multilingual clinical supervisors, and pre-professional training opportunities.


This study provides valuable information on the effects of linguistic backgrounds on the clinical opinions of SLPs and alludes to the importance of personal experiences on clinical practices. Future research that examines other personal factors and their effects on the SLPs’ clinical opinions and practices will help the development of evidence-based cultural and linguistic competence training programs.


Suswaram, S., Brady, N. C., & Gillispie, M. (2023). The role of service providers’ linguistic backgrounds on assessment of multilingual children. Journal of Communication Disorders, 102, 106302. 


Suswaram, S., & Brady, N. C. (2021, April). Service Providers’ Language Abilities Effecting their Clinical Experience with Children from Multilingual Backgrounds. 54th Annual Gatlinburg Conference. [Virtual]

Suswaram, S. (2020, February). Language Abilities and Speech and Language Services: Assessing Children from Multilingual Families. 16th Annual Graduate Student Research Conference, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS. [In-person]

Invited Presentation

Suswaram, S. (2022, May). Effects of Cultural Experiences on Clinical Practices: Evidence from Research. Equity Series, Bright Idea Media. [Virtual]