Speaker Series

Diagnostic Decision Making for Bilingual Children

Thursday, October 18, 2018, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Orton Center, University of Redlands Campus
Course description

The diagnosis of developmental language disorder (DLD) in bilingual children is challenging. It is best practice to test bilinguals in both of their languages. But how do we systematically combine the data from two languages to make diagnostic decisions? Through hands-on case studies, participants will evaluate patterns of performance of bilingual Spanish-English speakers to determine whether performance is indicative of a language difference or language disorder. We will focus on evaluation of narrative language samples for grammaticality and narrative structure; evaluate history of language use and current language use, and examine patterns of performance using standardized testing using the BESA. Through case studies we will discuss how to put this information together to make clinical decisions. We compare classification accuracy for each domain when using one language alone and when used in combination.


Dr. Elizabeth Peña is a Professor in the School of Education at the University of California, Irvine. She is a certified Speech-Language Pathologist and a Fellow of the American Speech Language Hearing Association. Her research focuses on two lines of inquiry that address the goal of differentiating language impairment from language difference: dynamic assessment and semantic development in bilinguals. Dynamic assessment tests the ability to learn new language skills. In contrast, standardized tests assess what children already know. The advantage of focusing on learning is that it greatly reduces bias by not assuming lack of knowledge is lack of ability. In the semantics area, she is interested in how children from diverse linguistic backgrounds learn new language skills and how they lexicalize their conceptual knowledge across two languages. Through careful qualitative and description of bilingual children’s performance, she is currently focusing on potential in children. Outcomes of these lines of study have resulted current in publication of the Dynamic Assessment and Intervention: Improving Children's Narrative Abilities protocol and the Bilingual English Spanish Assessment test. Relevant financial and non-financial disclosures: Dr. Peña will receive an honorarium for this course and receives royalties for Dynamic Assessment and Intervention: Improving Children's Narrative Abilities protocol and the Bilingual English Spanish Assessment test, which will be discussed during this workshop. There are no relevant non-financial disclosures.

Please see flier for more information on registration and schedule of events.

For workshop details and questions, please contact Barbara Conboy at Barbara_Conboy@redlands.edu.