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Woolfolk Distinguished Lecture: Leah Fabiano-Smith, PhD, CCC-SLP

March 1 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm CST

Woolfolk Distinguished Lecture: Leah Fabiano-Smith, PhD, CCC-SLP

Title: Phonological evaluation of bilingual Spanish-English speaking children: The language combination effect

Authors: Leah Fabiano-Smith, University of Pittsburgh, Chelsea Privette, University of Texas at Austin, & Lingling An, University of Arizona

Abstract: Every fourth child that walks through the door of a United States Kindergarten classroom is Latinx (Murphey, Guzman, & Torres, 2014). Until recently, no normative data on phonological acquisition in bilingual Spanish-English-speaking children have been available to speech-language pathologists (SLPs) for the correct identification of Latinx preschoolers and Kindergarteners with speech sound disorders. This study expanded upon current theoretical models of bilingual speech sound acquisition and develop evidence-based diagnostic criteria for speech-language pathologists (SLPs) to differentiate typically-developing bilingual children from bilingual children with speech sound disorders. This presentation will share preliminary data from a study funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) that is currently in progress. This study will present data on the English and Spanish skills of 64 bilingual Spanish-English speaking children, ages 3;0-6;0, with and without speech sound disorders. Data on monolingual English-speaking children, from the same community, will also be presented. Children were recorded naming single words on the Assessment of English and Spanish Phonology (Barlow, 2003), the Bilingual English-Spanish Assessment(BESA) (Peña, Gutierrez-Clellen, Iglesias, Goldstein, & Bedore, 2013), and the Goldman-Fristoe Test of Articulation (GFTA-3) (Goldman & Fristoe, 2000). Children’s productions were analyzed for common phonological error patterns, overall consonant accuracy (PCC-R), and accuracy of early-, middle-, and late-developing phonemes. Receiving Operator Characteristic Curves identified that while examining any individual measure for monolingual English-speaking children results in relatively equal diagnostic accuracy, combining measures within and across languages for bilingual children increases diagnostic accuracy. Importantly, diagnostic accuracy is still lower for both languages of bilingual children, as compared to monolinguals, increasing their odds of misdiagnosis. Theoretical implications are discussed in the context of the Processing Rich Information from Multidimensional Interactive Representations (PRIMIR) model (Curtin, Byers-Heinlein, & Werker, 2011) and implications for clinical assessment will also be addressed.

Bio: Leah Fabiano-Smith, PhD, CCC-CLP 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 include phonological acquisition and disorders in bilingual Latinx preschoolers and assessment methods that reduce misdiagnosis of speech and language disorders in minoritized pediatric populations. Both her research and academic endeavors focus on dismantling white supremacy in the field of speech, language, and hearing sciences and increasing representation of minoritized scholars and speech-language pathologists.



March 1
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm CST
DMC 5.102 – Dean’s Presentation Room


DMC 5.102 – Dean’s Presentation Room


Target Audience
Faculty, Staff, Students
Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

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