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Trend Watch: A Bilingual Test for Speech-Language Disorders

Researchers at the University of Texas, Austin, have created an assessment designed to detect speech-language disorders in children who speak both Spanish and English, according to a story posted by the university. It's one more tool to expand the resources that schools can use for the difficult task of determining if children who speak two languages have a language barrier or disability.

The assessment could be useful for a rather large population of bilingual children or English-language learners. Children with speech-language disorders make up the second-largest group of schoolchildren identified with disabilities, I just learned by chatting with Christina Samuels, our reporter here at EdWeek who covers special education and has a desk near me. (Children with specific learning disabilities make up the largest category of children with special needs.)

Elizabeth Peña, a professor of communication sciences and disorders, and Lisa Bedore, an associate professor of communication sciences and disorders, at the University of Texas, have spent the past decade developing the assessment so that bilingual children can be properly tested and get treatment if they have a speech-language disorder, the story says. An experimental version of the test, called Bilingual English Spanish Assessment, is being used in three research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health.

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