2019 Projects on Multicultural Activities

Characterizing Speech Disfluencies in Bilingual (Spanish–English) Children

Raúl Rojas, University of Texas at Dallas
Farzan Irani, Texas State University

The objectives of the project were:

  1. To systematically characterize disfluencies (stuttering-like and typical) in the Spanish and English narrative retell productions of a cross-sectional sample of approximately 150 typically developing (TD) bilingual children, ages 3-to-10 years.
  2. To examine the potential differences in the speech disfluencies produced in each language as a function of children’s existing dual language skills and specific demographic variables.
  3. To disseminate the findings of this project across scholarly, professional, and public outlets to increase the cultural competence of clinical researchers, speech-language pathologists, and the wider public.

Initial data analyses and the results from the larger cross-sectional study supported the original hypothesis. Specifically, that the TD bilingual (Spanish–English) children in this sample produced more spoken disfluencies than their monolingual English-speaking peers (<3% stuttering-like; <10% total disfluencies). This was true for stuttering-like disfluencies (SLD) (MEnglish = 6.2, SDEnglish = 3.97; MSpanish = 5.87, SDSpanish = 4.95) and total disfluencies (TD) (MEnglish = 10.16, SDEnglish = 6.58; MSpanish = 10.42, SDSpanish = 9.9). Preliminary analyses also demonstrated an effect of gender (higher for males vs females) as well as grade level (both SLD and TD reduce with grade level).

Future planned analyses will examine the relations between the frequency of spoken disfluency types and distinct profiles of dual language proficiency.

Improve AAC Accessibility for People with Aphasia from Diverse Linguistic Backgrounds

Pei-Fang Hung, California State University, Long Beach
Lei Sun, California State University, Long Beach
Jennifer Hanson, Lingraphica
Kris Brock, Idaho State University

Project goals and results:  

  1. The project team developed and conducted an online survey to investigate practicing SLPs’ relevant experience of and clinical competencies in the use of speech-generating devices (SGD) for people with aphasia (PWA) from diverse linguistic backgrounds. The survey questions were developed based on the currently available research evidence focusing on factors associated with the use of AAC in PWA and individuals from diverse linguistic backgrounds. The results of this survey study have been used to provide suggestions for SGD programming and clinical implications.
  2. Survey results have been disseminated through a professional presentation [Hung, P-F., Brock, K., Sun, L., & Hanson, J. (2021, March). SLP’s Current Practice on ACC and Bilingual Aphasia: Suggestions Based on a Survey Study. Seminar presented at the annual conference of the California Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Virtual Conference] and a podcast [Hung, P. & Brock, K. (Host). (2021, May 18). Bilingualism and Aphasia: How Can We Improve AAC Technologies? [Audio podcast episode]. In Idaho Speech, Language, and Hearing Association. ISHA Podcase CE Series. https://brockris.wixsite.com/aacct-1/news].
  3. A manuscript for disseminating the study results has been completed and will be submitted to a professional peer-reviewed journal.
  4. The software engineers in Lingraphica have made an improvement to their device button bar to address bilingual individuals’ needs. They launched the customized the button bar and Spanish–English toggle feature in March 2021. This toggle feature can make switching between languages easier, which can promote the motivation of using AAC and facilitate generalization in PWA from diverse linguistic backgrounds.
  5. Based on the results of this study, the team has developed a preliminary training program for SLPs. This training program will provide clinicians support to implement AAC intervention in PWA from diverse linguistic backgrounds.

Online Resources for the Vietnamese Language: Assessment Tools, Learning Modules, and Databank

Giang Pham, San Diego State University

The objectives of this project were to:

  1. Increase cultural competency for working with Vietnamese children and families.
  2. Provide free access to research-based Vietnamese assessment tools.
  3. Expand the availability of data on Vietnamese first language acquisition.


  • Recorded a series of five video-recorded lectures to become online learning modules for SLPs interested in working with Vietnamese American children. The Learning Modules are an educational resource for professionals and students to gain knowledge of the Vietnamese language and Vietnamese American history and culture. Specific modules provide an overview of language disorders in Vietnamese speakers, bilingual assessment, and bilingual intervention principles. Comprehension quizzes give an opportunity to test learners’ knowledge after viewing each module. Quizzes are 10 items pooled from a larger set of items per module so that each time, the learner can complete a new quiz. Once learners complete 8 of 10 items correctly, they can download a certificate of completion for their records.
  • Launched the website https://vietslp.sdsu.edu. The two main components of this fully bilingual website are the Learning Modules and Assessment Tools. With a click of a button on the top right corner, readers can toggle between Vietnamese and English.
  • Developed Assessment Tools. Once users complete the free registration form, they can access 8 tools that have been created and validated with Vietnamese speakers: Parent survey, Picture Identification, Picture Naming, Sentence Repetition, Nonword Repetition, Rapid Naming, Phonological Awareness, and Word and Nonword Reading. Within each tool, registered users will find (a) the picture and audio stimuli needed to administer each task directly from the website, (b) a record form to download and score, and (b) instructions on how to administer and score.
  • Created a web-based databank. Record forms for each assessment tool have been converted to a web-based form. Data entered using these forms go directly into a database that is securely housed and backed-up in the College of Health and Human Services at San Diego State University.
  • ASHA Asian Pacific Islander Caucus sponsored a 90-minute presentation. There were over 170 attendees for the web-based presentation. Video recordings of the presentation are available in the Assessment Tools section of the webpage, including separate videos describing the research background of each task (Pham), practical information on how to navigate the online tools (Dam), and how to use the tools with an interpreter (Ebert). [Full reference: Pham, G., Dam, Q., & Ebert, K. (February, 2021). Vietnamese Assessment Tools Online: Current Research & Clinical Applications. Invited presentation for the ASHA Asian Pacific Islander Speech-Language-Hearing Caucus.]

As of June 2021, there has been a total of 204 registered users for the Learning Modules (87) and for the Assessment Tools (117). Users consist of graduate students, speech-language pathologists, teachers, and professionals in related fields. For Assessment Tool users, the majority are from the United States (68%) with a large percentage of users from Vietnam (29%), and a few users from Australia, Canada, and Switzerland.

Currently the databank is only accessible to approved researchers. It will be used to securely enter data remotely from Vietnam in a new upcoming research study that aims to identify clinical markers of developmental language disorder in Vietnamese across bilingual and monolingual populations. Funding for this research study has been received from the National Institutes of Health, projected to start by August 2021 (“Clinical markers of DLD in bilingual and monolingual Vietnamese children”. Findings from this study will contribute to building the evidence base for Vietnamese first language acquisition. 

Testing the Speakaboo App in Hindi—International Collaboration for Enhancing the Assessment of Speech Disorders in Bilingual Children

Nidhi Mahendra, San Jose State University
Vikas Grover, New York Medical College

PIs’ Note: Work on this project has been inordinately delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that badly affected New York and California, the home states of the two principal collaborators on this project. Given that work involved testing preschoolers and young bilingual children (who are yet not vaccinated) using a tablet-based app, we have been directly impacted since our target population is unvaccinated and we were not set up to use the app we developed, via teleconferencing or Zoom. We are now resuming our plans for direct data collection as shelter-in-place orders lift at our respective states and universities.

Accomplishments to date:

  • Presented a peer-reviewed paper on pilot data from the Speakaboo app in Hindi at the 2019 World Congress of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics (IALP) in Taipei, Taiwan.
  • Completed an updated literature search on published articles on articulation and phonological assessment in Hindi speakers, and review of existing research on digitized Photo Articulation Tests in Hindi (in India).
  • Established connections with local partners (e.g., India Community Center [ICC] in the San Francisco Bay area, Early Intervention Clinics in New York/New Jersey and the South Bay region of the SF Bay area) to identify study participants for faster recruiting.
  • Designed an alternate plan for data collection. To date, we have clarified methodology, completed a final list of picture stimuli and sound tokens in Hindi for our app, finalized scoring forms, and are completing a digital photo articulation book.
  • Updated a language history/experience questionnaire (Mahendra, Plante, & Magloire, 1999) and are translating it into Hindi. We expect these tools to be available as open-source materials for clinicians, upon completion of our project.
  • Completed related bilingual research on accented speakers.
  • Submitted and revised a manuscript for publication (Grover, Namasivayam, & Mahendra – under review)
  • Initiated early-stage work on launching a bilingualism research taskforce—Bilingualism Over the Lifespan or BOL—of bilingual, Hindi-English speech-language pathologists and audiologists. In Hindi, BOL means the noun “words” and the verb “talk.” This task force is expected to systematically address the availability of well-developed Hindi materials for assessment of speech, language, and hearing as well as dual language educational materials in Hindi.
  • Planned proposal submission for presentations for the 2022 California Speech Language Hearing Association and the New York Speech Language Hearing Association conventions.

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