Dissertation Proposal on Speech Shortage in Schools
According to the ASHA, as few as 2 percent of licensed SLPs in any given state are also bilingual. Given the fact that there is already a critical shortage of SLPs throughout the school systems in the United States, who are skilled in English, this makes teaching and learning especially difficult for English Language Learners. A study in Colorado asked 154 SLPs who served children coming from linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds about their comfort level working in a diverse environment (Guiberson & Atkins, 2012). The outcome of the study was that the SLPs felt comfortable when the diversity was of a cultural or racial type. However, cases involving linguistic minorities caused a great deal of anxiety among respondents. The SLPs would access interpreters to help them work with the students, instead of relying on family members, but even finding an interpreter was often a struggle. Also, the fact that these students could not access the English-language assessment tools also meant that there was some difficulty providing accurate diagnosis and services. Because of the reported shortage in available tools for assessment, and a lack of norming data for the development of language in children from diverse linguistic backgrounds, the quality of services provided was likely to suffer.