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It is always ideal to have bilingual children evaluated for speech and language by a Speech-Language Pathologist who speaks the same languages they do. However, given the number of languages and limited number of bilingual SLPs in the field, this is not always possible. Below, we will walk through what a typical assessment may look like when administered by a bilingual SLP versus a monolingual SLP.

Bilingual SLP Evaluation Protocol – English & Spanish

Monolingual SLP Evaluation Protocol

  • Ages birth-7;11: Preschool Language Scales- 5th Edition Spanish (PLS-5 Spanish) assesses both receptive and expressive language skills in both languages
  • Ages 4-6: Bilingual English-Spanish Assessment (BESA) is a comprehensive speech and language assessment comprised of phonology, morphosyntax and semantics in both languages
  • Family/caregiver interview – the BESA includes two measures that analyze the amount of time a child spends both hearing and using each language as well as has the parent rate the child’s skills across various areas in both English and Spanish
  • Informal assessment of pragmatics/play
  • Language sample in each language, either through conversation or story retell
  • Extensive family/caregiver interview if they know English to glean as much information as possible about the child’s strengths and difficulties in both languages
  • Use dynamic assessment, which involves pretesting a skill, teaching that skill, and then re-testing the skill to determine if progress was made. If the child does not make any progress, this is a good indicator there may be impairment. While this method appears to be more like a treatment session, it is very helpful to use as part of an evaluation when more formal measures are not able to be administered as it is a way to glean information.
  • Language sample, either through conversation or story retell to see how language is used
  • Conduction of a typical monolingual test battery, which would look at receptive language, expressive language, pragmatics/play, and speech production skills

*It is extremely important to note that English standardized assessments are not normed based on a bilingual child, meaning that the information gleaned from them should be viewed with caution, as the test’s reliability and validity is inherently compromised. Therefore, it’s important to report which language is the primary language and to expand upon the information within the subtests versus focusing on the formal scores in both languages, being as thorough as possible with what was observed for L1 and L2.

If you are looking for a bilingual service provider, ASHA ProFind ( is an excellent resource.