Make your own free website on

Identifying a Disorder in Student's from a Linguistically Diverse Background

Linguistics and Dialects of American Sign Language

Home | Introduction | Vocabulary | Evidence of Misdiagnosis | Identifying a Disorder in Student's from a Linguistically Diverse Background | Deaf Culture | History of ASL | ASL Timeline | Variations/Dialects in ASL | ASL:standardization? | Standardization | Bibliography

    Most traditional assessment tools and benchmarks are based on standard American English and does not take into account the speech/sign community of the person it's testing. 

An evaluator should collect...
  •  data currently on the individual's current and past exposure to particular language and dialects (Crowley, 2003).
  •  data about the individual's speech and language skills in a variety of settings and on different types of language (social, comparison, synthesis, and problem solving).
  • information from the parent / care-giver.
    • The information should include: developmental and medical history; parents feelings on how their child's communication compares to his/her siblings and peers in their speech/sign community; history of speech-language disorders in the family, and history of academic problems in the family.
  • information how grammatical development of the student compares to the performance and standards of his/her community. 
  • information on the ability of the individual to comprehend and utilize information presented in his/her community.
  • information on the students ability to take the information and organize information to express his/her thoughts through speech/sign or written words to his/her speech community.
  • information on the child's development of curriculum-based language skills such as phonological awareness, language-based memory skills, vocabulary development, and language-based literacy and math skills.
    • This can be accomplished through the use of nonstandardized and standardized tests that cover various areas of speech and language. 
  • information should be collected on the individual's ability to learn.
    • This can be assessed by using a dynamic assessment method.  This will help in determining whether the student's incorrect response was due to a lack of exposure to the tests task requirement, or content or a true disorder (Crowley, 2003).

Processing the Data

     Once information has been collected, the next step is determining if the student has a communication disorder.  The evaluator may need to look for assistance from someone whom is familiar with that dialect/language. There are several factors that are critical to this decision and are listed below.

  •     Sociolinguistics
    • Evaluator should consider how social and cultural factors may have influenced the quality and quantity of information gathered.
  •     Prior Educational Experiences
    • The evaluator should be able to distinguish the differences between the effect of a poor educational experience and a true disorder.
  •     Linguistics
    • The evaluator should be able to adjust his/her linguistic criteria based on the characteristics of second language learning; amount and quality of experiences with the various dialects the student produces, and variations as to when particular developmental benchmarks are met in different languages or dialects (Crowley, 2003).

     In the end of the process, a written report is creating detailing if a disorder exists and the severity of the disorder (Crowley, 2003).


Note:  The information above focuses more on a spoken language variation. The above procedures can be modified to fit diagnosing a child who is Deaf or hard of hearing. 

Date Created: May 15, 2006 Time: 10:52 pm
Date Modified: June 8, 2006