Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 12-5-2019


The population in the United States is rapidly diversifying, and it is estimated that 4.9 million English-Language Learning (ELL) students are currently in the United States (National Center for Education Statistics, 2019). ELL students come from diverse linguistic backgrounds and have varying proficiencies in English and their native language. The linguistic and cultural differences bilingual ELL students present when they attend public schools have created challenges for the current assessment and treatment services available for those bilingual children with communication disorders. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are required to assess bilingual children suspected of having a language disorder, one of the most common childhood learning disabilities. Unfortunately, many of the assessments used to diagnose a child with a language disorder follow standard measures that are designed for monolingual speakers, whose native language is only English. As a result, bilingual children may be misdiagnosed with language disorders.

To overcome the potential problems of misdiagnosing a language difference for a language disorder, clinicians must be aware of sociocultural and linguistic differences that are unique to each student. Through this paper, current assessment challenges will be discussed to help future clinicians effectively assess bilingual children whose primary language is not English. This review will explain the use of standardized assessments, informal assessments, a dynamic assessment, and the sociocultural approach to create a comprehensive assessment. A resource manual is attached that further describes the components of the assessment process explained in the literature review.