ASHA Policies and Procedures

There are several documents in ASHA Practice Policy that are important to the service and delivery to culturally and linguistically diverse populations.

Code of Ethics and Related Statements

Issues in Ethics Statement: Cultural and Linguistic Competence provides guidance from the board of ethics to members who are working with culturally and linguistically diverse populations.


Definitions of Communication Disorders and Variations provides guidance, but not official standards of the Association. It defines communication disorders, language disorders, hearing disorders, central auditory processing disorders, and communication variances including communication differences and dialect.

Knowledge and Skills

Position Statements and Technical Reports

Provision of Instruction in English-as-a-Second-Language by Speech-Language Pathologists in School Settings ( Position Statement and Technical Report) indicates that speech-language pathologists who possess the required knowledge and skills to provide English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction in school settings may provide direct ESL instruction. SLPs who do not possess the requisite skills should not provide direct instruction in ESL, but should collaborate with ESL instructors in providing pre-assessment, assessment, and/or intervention with in school settings.

Social Dialects states that no dialectal variety of English is a disorder or a pathological form of speech or language. The speech-language pathologist may be available to provide elective clinical services to nonstandard English speakers who do not present a disorder. On page 3, Implications of the Position on Social Dialects answers frequently asked questions about ASHA's position on social dialects.

The American English Dialects is a technical report that reaffirms the Social Dialects position statement. It presents guidance to the professionals in the field of speech-language pathology regarding the provision of services to speakers of various American English dialects who wish to acquire proficiency in a dialect other than their own.

Students and Professionals Who Speak English With Accents and Nonstandard Dialects: Issues and Recommendations ( Position Statement and Technical Report)
The position statements asserts that students and professionals who speak with accents and/or dialects can effectively provide speech, language, and audiological services as long as they have the expected level of knowledge and skills, and are capable of providing needed models. The technical report provides background information in support of the position statement, and considerations for clinical placement and supporting students and professionals with accents and dialects.

Professional Issues Statements

The Clinical Education of Students with Accents provides guidance and tips for both students in CSD programs who speak with a foreign accent and faculty members. 

Relevant Papers

The Code of Fair Testing Practices in Education states the major obligations of professionals who develop or use educational tests. It clarifies that all test users must determine if the test content and norms are appropriate for the intended test taker.

ASHA Corporate Partners