Differences are not disorders. We know this, we preach it, we practice it. So why do we use the same words to describe the two? This important, perspective-shifting piece from ASHA SIG 1 centers around a big table of the features of African American English (AAE), the “deficit terminology” that has been used to describe them, and a more positive alternative for each. This table is a fantastic, laminate-it-and-keep-in-on-your-bulletin-board resource for anyone who serves speakers of AAE. The other new articles from SIG 1 (noted with * below) dig further into the implications of this “deficit” mindset about AAE and ways to move beyond bias into understanding, empowerment, and advocacy.
Are you a new clinician, or even a seasoned SLP moving into school practice from a different area? Have you been following discussions about assessment practices, but ended up really confused about what you should or shouldn’t be doing? This article is essential reading for you, and is highly recommended for anyone doing school-based language assessments. It’s a straightforward, easy-to-read, and comprehensive lesson on how to tackle your evaluations and overcome issues like under-identification, non-evidence-based use of standardized tests, and the increased expectations laid out in the Common Core State Standards. They lay out a simple framework to guide the whole process: Review, Interview, Observe, and Test (yes, test LAST. Too often we are pressured to select our assessments before we know anything about the student. This model pushes back on that.)
The article also walks you through the basics of interpreting the psychometric properties of standardized tests (so, all that stuff in the manual) in a very straightforward, readable way, and describes alternatives, like dynamic assessment. They even work through an example case study of how all these pieces could look in practice. All kinds of best practice nuggets are scattered along the way, from the types of questions you should ask in parent/teacher interviews to the importance of using confidence intervals with your test scores.
We bet that everyone can find a valuable takeaway from this piece. Even if you’re already confident about your assessment methods, a read through this article will help you articulate why you do things the way you do (and give you a nice, pat-on-the-back feeling while you’re at it).