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Educating Students to Serve Multilingual-Multicultural Populations. José G. Centeno , Ph.D., CCC-SLP St John's University Raquel T. Anderson, Ph.D., CCC-SLP Indiana University. Demographic Information. Linguistic and cultural diversity are frequent in today’s world.

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Educating Students to Serve Multilingual-Multicultural Populations

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Educating students to serve multilingual multicultural populations

Educating Students to Serve Multilingual-Multicultural Populations

José G. Centeno, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

St John's University

Raquel T. Anderson, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Indiana University

Demographic information

Demographic Information

  • Linguistic and cultural diversity are frequent in today’s world.

  • Globalization coupled with new media and communication technologies (internet and mobile phones) has intensified social, cultural and linguistic diversity all over the world

    (Blommaert, & Rampton, 2011)

Demographic information1

Demographic Information

  • Bilingualism and multilingualism are common outcomes of multicultural-multilingual diversity.

  • Many languages co-exist in a large number of countries because there are about 6,912 languages and 200 sovereign states.

  • Thus, many individuals must necessarily be bilingual (speakers of two languages) or multilingual or polyglots (speakers of more than 2 languages) for daily interaction in many societies.

    (Centeno & Ansaldo, 2013; Gordon, 2005).

Demographic information2

Demographic Information

The United States: An illustrative case of cultural and linguistic diversity

  • Ethnic/racial minorities

    Presently about 34% (102.5 million) of the total population (301. 6 million)

    Expected to be the majority by 2042 and reach 54% (235.7 million) by 2050

    (U.S. Census Bureau, 2002, 2008b).



Hispanics - the largest minority - 15 % (45.5 MM)

Blacks 13.4% (40.7 MM)

Asians 5% (15.2 MM)

American Indians-Alaska Natives 1.5 % (4.5 MM)

Native Hawaiians-Other Pacific Islanders 0.33% (1 MM)

White majority 66% (199.1 MM)



  • Many of these individuals may be bilingual

    About47 million (17.9%) persons are estimated to speak a language other than English at home, an increase of 15 million people since 1990.

    (U.S. Census Bureau, 2006; 2008b).

Spanish english bilingualism in the u s an extensive case of bilingualism

Spanish-English Bilingualism in the U.S.: An Extensive Case of Bilingualism.

  • Spanish (used by about 34 million of the total U.S. population 5 years old and over) - the second most frequently used language in the country after English (used by 283 million individuals)

    (U.S. Census Bureau, 2008a).  

  • 11 million (46%) of the Hispanic adults in the U.S. consider themselves to be Spanish-English bilinguals

    (Pew Hispanic Center, 2004).

Serving bilingual clients

Serving Bilingual Clients

  • Clinical Goals

    Like in monolingual contexts, experiential background and research evidence must be systematically considered for clinical decisions.

    Yet, in the case of bilingual persons…

Clinical goals

Clinical Goals

  • Accurate assessment

    • Language difference vs. Language disorder

  • Personalized intervention

    • Effective linguistic/communicative contexts and realistic cultural norms

      (Centeno, 2009, 2010, in press; Centeno & Eng, 2005; Centeno & Ansaldo, 2013; Martin, 2009).

      Fig. 1 – see attachment

Professional needs

Professional Needs

  • SLPs serving children and adults from multicultural/ multilingual backgrounds continue to experience limitations in the competencies to serve these individuals.

    Realistic training and post-graduate resources needed!

    (ASHA, 2004; Centeno, 2009; Kohnert et al., 2003; Roseberry-Mckibbin et al., 2005).

Serving bilingual spanish english clients

Serving Bilingual Spanish-English Clients

Linking Research with Professional Training

A. Children

B. Adults with Aphasia

Educating students to serve multilingual multicultural populations

A. Bilingual Spanish-English Children

Some facts about ell dual language children in the united states

Some facts about ELL/dual language children in the United States

  • 2009 – 55% of all schools enrolled children who were ELL.

  • dual language background


Focus on latino c hildren

Focus on Latino Children

  • Latino children make up 22% of all children under 18 years of age.

  • Poverty rates highest for Latino children

    • 37% of all children living in poverty (2011)

  • Most Latino children are second generation

    • 52% children of first generation immigrants (2007)

    • 10% first generation foreign born

      Pew Hispanic Center (2009, 2011)



  • Probability is high that clinicians working with children will have in their caseloads dual language learners.

  • Important

    • knowledge base

      • language learning among diverse learners

      • socio-cultural factors that impact clinical services

Curricular models

Curricular Models

Model 1 specific course

Model 1: Specific Course

  • Sample content (Goldstein, 2011; Paradis et al., 2011)

    • patterns of dual language acquisition

      • BFLA

      • SLA

    • dual language learning phenomena

    • educational issues

    • cultural issues

    • assessment

    • Intervention

    • working with families

    • collaboration with other professionals

Model 2 integration of content

Model 2: Integration of Content

  • Two approaches

    • course content

    • case – based

    • (both incorporated into the course)

Some examples

Some Examples

Model 3

Model 3

  • Integration:

    • specific course

    • integration of content + activities throughout the curriculum

  • Best practice

    • validation of need to acquire the necessary knowledge

    • presents multilingualism not as an exception, but as an integral component of academic content.

Clinical experience

Clinical Experience

  • Provide opportunities for clinical practica with linguistically diverse children

    • in house (departmental clinic)

    • externships/outside placements

In house

In House

  • Remove linguistic and cultural barriers for target clientele

    • examples

      • language line

      • trained interpreters

      • marketing within the community

        • visibility

      • clinic hours

  • Collaboration of academic and clinical faculty

    • faculty training

    • information exchange



  • Identify agencies/clinics/schools that serve dual language learners

  • Establish collaborations



  • Integration

    • within the curriculum

    • academic + clinical experience

    • target community + academic program

Educating students to serve multilingual multicultural populations

B. Bilingual Spanish-English Adults with Aphasia

Adults with aphasia

Adults with Aphasia

  • Hispanic adults are the most frequently encountered minority group in many neurorehabilitation programs in the U.S.

    (Centeno, 2009; in press)

Teaching strategies

Teaching Strategies

  • Approaches for content coverage

    I. Section in Aphasia course

    II. Section in Bilingualism/Diversity course

    III. Section in Clinical Assessment course

    (ASHA, 2012; Lubinski & Matteliano, 2008)

Content to cover

Content to cover

Adapt to teaching strategies I, II, or III

  • Demographic Info: Bilingualism as a local and worldwide phenomenon

  • General overview of aphasia

  • General principles of aphasia in bilingual individuals

    (Centeno & Ansaldo, 2013; Fabbro, 1999; Gitterman et al., in press; Goral et al., 2002; Roberts, 2008; Paradis, 2004)

Content to cover1

Content to cover

  • Impact of pre-morbid linguistic, communicative,

    cognitive, and social background on post-stroke

    profile (Fig. 1)

    Significance of research on Spanish-English bilinguals with aphasia:

    Factors - Language dominance, expressive routines, educational background, etc.

    (Centeno, in press; Centeno & Ansaldo, 2013; Juncos-Rabadán, 1994; Muñoz et al., 1999)

Content to cover2

Content to cover

  • Clinical procedures:

    Assessment & diagnosis


    (Brozgold & Centeno, 2007; Centeno, 2007a, 2007b; 2010; Centeno & Ansaldo, 2013; Juncos-Rabadán, 1994; Kiran & Edmonds, 2004; Kohnert, 2008, 2009; Muñoz & Marquardt, 2008; Paradis, 2004, 2012; Roberts, 2008)

  • Sociocultural and administrative factors: attitudes,

    motivations, and healthcare issues

    (Centeno, 2007b; Salas-Provance et al., 2002; Zunker & Cummins, 2004)

Clinical experiences

Clinical Experiences

  • Direct clinical practice

    In-house practicum

    External practica

  • Indirect experience: videos, observations of other clinicians



  • Linking of research to clinical training to serve minority groups is important

  • Implementation of training models to accurately and sensitively work with minority individuals may only be possible with both professional and institutional support.

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