SLP Toolkit Podcast, Episode 41, Transcript
Well, hey Lisa!
How’s it going, Sarah?
It’s great, thank you. It's--I mean, I always hate to say what day it is or time of the year or anything, because this episode might not go out for a while, but--it's Friday.
I love a Friday. I know, but we are in the office, which is weird for a Friday.
But we've done nothing we planned to do in the office except what we're doing right now, which I'm really excited about.
Yes! Yes. This is something that we have been wanting to do for a while. First introduce in a confessional with us. And then we'll explain why it's been a while that we wanted to have this conversation.
We are ecstatic to have Chelsea Cornejo in our, um, confessional today. Chelsea, you may recognize even that name because she did present as part of the most recent SLP summit in January. And so, um, just a little bit about Chelsea: she's a bilingual SLP working in a clinic in Austin, has--in the bulk of her career has been in pediatrics, both in schools and clinics, but [is] really passionate in particular about, um, really making education equitable--especially in her community, um, Spanish speaking families. And you know, it's funny when you did your presentation for whatever reason my brain says, um, uh, now I'm going to say it the correct way. Latin-ex is how I thought it was like Latino, Latina, Latin-ex, but I didn't know it was Latin-X. And I was like, okay, well I learned that, but anyways, welcome. We're ecstatic.
Thank you. Thank you. I'm so happy to be here with y'all.
Yes, that, that is an actual great first question before we get into a little bit more about some other things is Latin-X, but I love that. I think at the beginning of your presentation, you explained not everybody uses that term.
Right, right. There is a lot of feelings, um, and a lot of debate on what is the term. So Latin X is the gender inclusive term that has emerged in the last few years. Um, and you can say Latin-Equis, Latin-X, um, it's just to be more inclusive. However, as I like had mentioned in the presentation, it's not, it's not able to be pronounced in Spanish. And so Latina or Latin has emerged as another alternative that you can say in Spanish. Um, but yeah, a lot of people don't necessarily embrace it, but it is, um, inclusive of non-binary or genderqueer Latina people.
My dau--I almost said my daughter, this I'm overriding 20 years of history--but my child is non-binary and just created a website that--she has a friend that always says, um, is it cariña? Or Karina? What is like, um, when somebody's like--it's like that loving kind of term?
Oh, yes! Cariño.
So she goes by cariñe. And so her--her website has that incorporated just in--I keep saying “her”--I'm so sorry, you guys, I know you can write podcast@SLPtoolkit.com and call me out. I do my very best.
You know, what we learned from our other presentation? Just fix it and move on!
I do. And--and so it's funny. I--it depends on the context too, sometimes I feel like when I'm talking about my child, that if--um, so I think at this point, everybody knows. So it took us a while, there were pockets of our family and friends that it was like--we slowly were introducing this to different people based on my child's preferences. But, um, now everybody! So now I just have to roll with, um, all the time, this, uh, hardwiring in my brain of, again, it's thousands of times of saying, um, certain pronouns that I am now getting out of my vocabulary! Um, when it relates to my child. So, anyways, that was a long--
But it was a perfect actually--I mean, obviously this was not the intention of the entire direction of this episode, but, um, I did think I loved that we talked about this because it's new for most of us, any of these, the terms and the terms change. And so I even saw a question on it--Let's back up a minute. So Lisa did say that you have done it for the summit. And, um, the reason we wanted to have you on the podcast is we just want any opportunity to collaborate with you at any point in time over anything, because we just immediately were like, we love here we love her message with everything she's saying, and your presentation was not only so informative where I felt like, gosh, I have a lot to learn--I have so much to learn, period. I am a major work in progress in his lifetime--
As we all are.
Um, and so there, your whole presentation, but it was also beautiful and that's a strange way to describe a CEU, but it was, it was so heartfelt and emotional at times.
Well first of all, I mean, you drew us into your story and it was that's I think where the beauty comes out of this, where it wasn't just like I'm here learning in some kind of textbook way. It was a very personal way. So thank you for sharing that with us.
And just--the conversation just needs to be had, um, you know, about all of these different things. And so, you know, going back to this idea of Latinx and I loved the inclusiveness of it, but not everybody wants to use that term or recognizes that term. Um, and so terminology and it's, and it's important, you know, we just had a conversation about this in terms of not no longer using the term “special needs”. And I saw a comment that somebody said, “oh and then tomorrow it's going to be something else and then I've always gotta da-da-da-da”. That's--that's true! These things are evolving and changing all of the time. Um, but there's even a history there with terminology for, uh, individual for Latin/Latino/Latina that there's a history there. And so somebody asked that specific question after your summit about “I was told Hispanics not okay, is, is that okay? Are we allowed to use that word?” You know, so, you know, again, talk a little bit about that, the terminology, maybe, you know, what it is, and then what do we do when we're not sure which word to use?
So, yeah, absolutely. I mean, ultimately, and this is my opinion, and again, want to say that we are not a monolith. And so I am Mexican-American speaking from my personal perspective. And so other people may feel differently. And as I saw in my feedback, people do feel differently. Um, but for me, I'm always going to want to be inclusive. I'm always going to--to air in that direction. And so, although I know that there is this feeling that Latino is, some people may think that Latino is gender inclusive. But non-binary and genderqueer people do not find that term to be inclusive. And so I'm going to go with--with a term that is preferred, the term that is inclusive. Um, and so that's why I use the term Latinx and Latina, because that's always going to be where I--where I go. Um, I'm going to want to go with, however, it makes people feel comfortable, um, the term Hispanic. So you can be both, you can be both Hispanic and Latino. And so, and I think that's why there is this kind of confusion? Um, Hispanic is referring to someone from a Spanish speaking country. Um, but it's related to Spain. Latino is--or Latinx, Latine, that the name is referring to someone from a Latin American country. And so Hispanic does exclude people from Brazil or places that do not speak Spanish and Latin--Latinx will exclude Spain. So there's this kind of movement to move away from Hispanic because there's a movement to move away from Spain, which Spain colonized all of Latin America. So it's a movement to move away from the colonizer and kind of embrace your own identity as a Latinx person, a Latine person. And so that's kind of the movement. Again, not everybody feels that way. Um, people will use them interchangeably and, um, and I mean, everybody kind of has a different opinion on it.
And when in doubt, I think it's referred to the individual's preference. Because I have a really good friend who refers--So she's first generation Mexican-American and is Hispanic and doesn't use the word. [She] refers to herself as Hispanic, and not Latina. And so it's, it's whatever, you know, the individual wants to refer to themselves as an uncomfortable try to adopt that. And I think that's not just with these terms, it's with anything that if it's not your personal identity or community or whatever, then I don't need to be doing anything other than listening to you and, and following your lead.
Yeah. The only thing, the only thing that I will say that is not okay is when, um, you know, we see this a lot it’s implicit bias, is that when we see someone who is Brown or who is Latinx, people often assume that they are Mexican. Um, I see that a lot, especially here in Texas and that is when it's not okay. Um, because there are 33 countries in Latin America, and so they could come from one of 33 places. And so that's when it's not okay. And that's when it is appropriate to ask, um, to make sure that you're identifying and using people's identifiers and where they're from and identifying their culture.
I love that. I think we could probably wrap this one up.
Well, no more [unintelligible overlap].
Well just so you know, we got called out for one of our episodes because we don't get to the point fast enough, that they wanted us to get past all the niceties and just get right to the heart of it. And I was like, you could like-- (unintelligible) I'm sorry, but the first nine minutes of this conversation has been very important and powerful. I don't know what to tell somebody, but seriously, what you--I mean, first of all right, from the gate, you said, I'm always going to be inclusive. So really that's what all of this kind of can go with. That idea of: in my heart I want to be inclusive, I’m erring on that side. Anything that we talk about, I think really, already kind of sums things up. And then, um, like you said, really just listening -- actually this was from Summit too--you talked a lot about honoring feelings.
And so I feel like that even kind of goes back to what you just said too, like, and knowing that you are going to mess up and that's okay. Be, you know--just learn from that. Like that's how I always feel too. It's--we are all fallible in many different areas of our lives. And so if you just, when you learn better, do better and try to do better the next time and you know, that's what it's all about.
Alright so we're done now and there's so many good nuggets in there. No, no, no. We've got just so many things we want to talk to you about. Okay. Do you wanna ask, do you have something on your mind?
Well, I think just some of the things that we--when we were even reviewing your Q&A and chat and looking at your summit course, I mean, there were many questions that come out of this because I think first and foremost, we are looking at just representation in our field in general, and then we're looking at the students that we're working with, that, you know, sometimes we, um, I would say the majority of the times we have people who are not bilingual that are servicing bilingual children or Spanish-only speaking families, or not even just Spanish. I know that, you know, there are other, um, languages, there other languages besides Spanish and English. Now I think we can end the episode on that too. We’ve talked so much.
It's a very educational episode.
No, but just that idea of if, um, if we are not bilingual ourselves, if we're monolingual English speaking, what, what are the first kind of places to start if we're thinking in terms of assessment or wanting to connect with families that might be monolingual. And I always think of it from the perspective too, that Sarah and I both worked in Mesa, Arizona, which is the largest school district in the state of Arizona. We have a huge influx of Spanish speaking children--and other languages as well--but primarily Spanish speaking was our dominant, um, second language that we were exposed to. But as a result, we also had a lot of resources in our area. We have, uh, uh, interpreters, we have bilingual SLPs, we have materials. Um, you know, just that, that concept of diversity is baked into where we live.
Whereas it's hard to find people that speak different languages. Yeah. Um, yeah, no, that's hard. That's very hard. Cause I--the school districts that I have worked in also have a lot of resources, um, and have interpreters ready to help and assist in testing and calling families. So that is very hard. I mean the first place to start is connecting with the family. Um, and that should be the first place to start really in any evaluation is to connect with the family and to give them a phone call, um, and say, what are your concerns? Tell me about your child. However, if there is a language difference, barrier, um, that becomes trickier. I will say there are--the way I would start: There is--maybe seeing if you could send an email or a text message or a written based, a written-based based message. Um, there are great translation services online that are not perfect, um, but are accessible things like Google Translate even, um, different just translation services that at the very least will help you communicate with the family. And when they respond to you, you can translate it to English and just kind of get an idea that way, just to kind of touch base with the family. And then--
They’re probably, what? 80 to 90% reliable. It's never perfect, but enough to get it. If I had 80 to 90% of what somebody was trying to tell me, I could probably piece together. And so I feel like the flip side of that too, with our families is, you know, there may be some discrepancies in what's going home, but it's, it's good. It's good enough.
It can get it across.
Form over function.
Okay. I'm glad you brought up Google. I meant I have used Google whole lot, obviously one it's just so convenient, but I--I do always wonder, I don't know if it's translating.
It's not perfect. I will say that, you know, and I, sometimes I will use Google translate even as well. And I, and I will say this, I am a native Spanish speaker. I grew up, that was my first language, but I switched over to English when I started school. And I was not, there were no dual language programs when I was growing up and or where I was growing up. And so I switched over to English and my Spanish kind of that's where it stopped when I was like six. So I didn't really learn to write in Spanish. It's kind of just been self-taught. And so I will use Google translate if I'm in a rush and then just kind of tweak the words and the grammar, the way that I--that I need to. And so it's not perfect, but it works when I'm in a rush and I need to get it done. It's helpful. Um, and I know some people will disagree with me on that. There are other better translation services as well, but it it'll help you in a pinch.
Doesn’t it depend on the context, too? I think it's good enough in your settings, right? An email--a quick email or a contact, or even in this case, we're talking about looking at how to even connect with the family to begin with. Then that might be good enough. Now translating an IEP? That's not going to be good enough. The district would need to ensure that that is a standalone document. So maybe that's where issues can come into play too, thinking of what exactly is being tracked.
But this is the first thing we're doing is getting to know this family. It should be plain language. We shouldn't be using anything technical anyway. And so like, you know, I love that suggestion. So we need--hopefully we can do it in writing then if we don't have access to an interpreter, um, and then, and then send something home. And so are there--what should we be asking? Is this just an open ended get to know you or--or are there things we're looking to find out?
Usually what I'll ask is, um, what are your concerns kind of like, why are you seeking an evaluation? What are some, you know, what are your concerns with your child's language, articulation, communication? What are some strengths of your child? What are some things that they do well? What are some things that your child likes so that I can have it ready for the evaluation? Um, of course I'm always asking, what is the language spoken at home? You always want to make sure that you have that. And then is there anything that I haven't asked that you would like for me to know, just some kind of quick, basic questions
And then thinking too, in terms of: that would be for Eval, but even for an IEP, if you have a new--you know, you're starting a new school year, just sending home something quick to even ask those questions to say, “Hey, I care, your input is valuable from the very beginning of my start with your child. It's important for me to know what--where you're at”. And I even think at that time too, it's--you might--there are a lot of families that I know I encounter that maybe the parents don't speak English, but they have a sister that does, or they have somebody in the family that is sort of their designated interpreter. So again, if you're in a district that has a lot of resources, that might not be an issue, but that could be a place to start. If you are somewhere else that doesn't have as many resources just say: “Do you have anyone in your community, whether it be, you know, family or friends or network in general that, uh, that serves in this role for you?”
I was going to suggest that as well, I'm seeing if there's an adult that may be able to help: a family member, community member. Um, I always caution against maybe using siblings or family members, just because I know of a lot of, um--if possible to avoid. I know a lot of, you know, my own mother, my husband--like family, that that's a lot of trauma to unpack, you know? Needing to serve as translator for--for family. Um, so when I can avoid, I try not to put that emotional labor on, on siblings, um, when possible. Um, but seeing if maybe an adult or a community member may be available is great-is a great place to start. I love that idea.
That is such a great point. I never considered that, thank you so much for just saying that just now that makes so much sense. So, and I think in a lot of this too, is, um, you know, when we're thinking about, first of all, we're all everybody's overwhelmed and has really high caseloads and is, you know, especially working in the schools too. We talk about this all the time about just the wide range of needs and ages and everything else we're working on. And so then, you know, I--I think that individuals who don't have a ton of experience with working with, um, you know,--a family, you know, that speaks a different language or something. I think that anything new always gets so overwhelming to the point of like--
Then I just won't do it.
Panic, exactly, I just won't do it. And so I did, I think because what the--one of the biggest takeaways, I think from your presentation for me was this idea of having a meaningful relationship with this family and, and the story that you shared with the student and the mother who was so generous to--to let you record her so that we could hear from her, um, her experience. And just, I mean, that is literally we, we should be prioritizing this, you know, this connection to the family. And because we’re those in the schools, we rarely see families period, let alone, you know, now we're trying to navigate some, some other barriers. Um, so, you know, I want to talk a little bit about that, that why this matters, you know, to--to have relationships with the family.
Yeah, absolutely. I think for me, I mean--and again, I always, I use this term narrative and I get this for, I borrow it from [unintelligible], Lynn Palafox. Um, she uses it all the time. It's, you know, understanding a person's narrative. That's really where the beauty lies. If you understand a person's story, that's--that's where the connection is. Um, we don't exist in a vacuum. Therapy doesn't exist in a vacuum. Um, you know, we're working on S, we're working on L, working on following directions, we're working on all these things, but if there's other stuff going on in their lives, that's more important, you know? How can we expect them to being focused in--on--on working on these goals? So we have to get to know the full person and we have to get to know their families, um, to be able to support them fully. So I, yeah, I love getting--I mean, that's kind of where I start getting to know them and then getting to know their families. And that really can start in the school, that starts from the--the child study team meeting, or really when you're gathering that information to get consent for evaluation.
Well, and understanding that sense of overwhelm too, not even just from the perspective of, you know, every--everything and like this perspective. Right? So I think of right now, if you can't imagine how maybe families might feel, think about if you and your family uprooted and moved to Russia and you go to this place and you don't speak a word of Russian, but you have to put your kids into a school where that's all they--they instruct in. And then they're, you know, that people are trying to contact you. And if, if somebody was just sending things home in Russian, I'd be like, “Okay?”. Versus if we flip that experience and you're like, okay, well, they've tried to use a couple of words in English, and now they're trying to find some way to connect with me. And I know they care about me and my family and my child and helping us like integrate into, you know, how this all works over here. And so I feel more comfortable to open up and I feel safe and I feel, um, that there is true interest in--in what's happening. So I think from that perspective, A) alone, but B) we can forget to--how overwhelming the process of special education is. So whether you just have a child in a classroom versus now you're adding that layer of--even for English only speaking families--special education is what we breathe in and out. Um, but you know, the, the, the services that are provided under IDEA, but that--the just amount of paperwork, the processes, the things that are so common place for us, because we do it for our job is not, we're introducing that concept. So it's just, it's a lot that's going on there.
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I don't even think I know everything and I do it all the time. I mean, I still feel like I'm like--do I know all the laws and everything? You know, it's overwhelming, it’s so much. Um, and the family that you were speaking about, that I spoke about in the presentation. Um, at the end, um, she and I were speaking on her child's ARD meeting her IEP, um, it's time for his--he was placed in at three, he did child fine. So he did his evaluation at three, and now it's the three-year re-evaluation, it's time to kind of decide what's the next step for him. And it's this big meeting for them and that's coming up and I was asking her, you know, how it was going planning for it, how she was feeling about it. And we were discussing just kind of the ins and outs about it. And I was even telling her about some of the rights that she has and some of the rights that he has as a child under special education that she didn't even know. And she has a wonderful teacher advocate--her teacher. I mean, she really makes sure that she explains things fully. And even then, um, there were things that she didn't know, like she didn't know that her child, um, could come into the IEP meetings at any point. Um, but especially important once he gets older so that he can advocate for himself. Um, she didn't realize that there's just certain things that she didn't know. Um, and again, she has someone who is advocating for her and her teacher. Her teacher is a great advocate for her and her, for her child. And so there's just so much that--that, I mean, how can, you know? How can, you know--there's just so, so much, um, so yeah, it's over--it's overwhelming. Absolutely overwhelming
It is! And then it, you know, you're sitting in these meetings often times with, you know, how many other individuals that are on this team and just everybody's, you know, talking about heavy things, first of all, but then [unintelligible]. And so I learned, we just did a, um, Amanda Blackwell, Dr. Amanda--Amanda Blackwell, just did a blog post talking about that very thing and--and came up with a resource that had plain language. And in that moment I went, you know, I think I'm pretty good at--at least I felt like that was one of my strengths that I'm pretty good in a meeting, really making sure that I'm not overwhelming. And that this is that, you know, is obvious that the parents are just as equally important, if not actually the most important on the team. And I want to hear from them, I was always really good at that, but sometimes I struggle with trying to explain a technical term in a really simplified way so that everyone can understand it because here's the deal: most parents aren't asking questions. They're, you know, I had the privilege of a mom who had--my brother had, was in, um, uh, resource support, we called it here, but, um, had a learning disability. And so she'd sit in these meetings. And so now as adults, she would tell me though, “I just nodded all the time because I had no idea, but I didn't want to ask, like, I didn't want to look dumb”. And I'm like, “Mom, they were talking about things. You didn't go to school for. Like you could have asked!”, which she was like, “I know, but I just would nod!”. So anyway, this idea, I love that of, again, going back to an inclusive mindset, trying to include these families in this conversation.
And listening, because I think that's one of the things, even if you have a family that asks questions, sometimes families just--aren't always included. I have a niece going through this right now has a son with an IEP. And she's a, she's probably more savvy as far as the special education process, but also has always advocated for herself. And now that's transferred to her kids. And so she has brought up questions that don't always have the greatest answers. And then she'll call me and say, “This just happened and I don't think this is right” and I'm like “Yep, not right, you might want to go back to, you know--you have rights as a parent”. And so again, I think these are all of these layers when we add on top of all of these things happen on a daily basis for English speaking families think about if there's a language barrier on top of that, where, you know, we just have to really make sure that we're conscientious of that. And if we are the one on our team advocating for that family helping educate our team members, then you know, that's--that's where we need to be. That's what we need to do.
Yeah, absolutely. And the part that makes me really, um, sad is, is when I think about the families that don't have people like us, who are in the system and understand the system and just go through and just say--like your mom and just say, okay, and just sign. Whereas, you know, we, we understand the system when we say, actually that's not okay, or actually you should be getting this notice five days before, or actually you should be, um, you know--there's so many of those families that go through this process and don't know their rights.
And, they trust the school district. I feel like that was my experience working in these efforts.
You’re the experts, I trust what you're saying.
My school was 97%, I think, ELL students, English language learners, and the meetings, it was the families you could tell--there was just a trust. Like, I know you have my child's best interest, which is beautiful in one way but then if they're with a team that maybe just--I don't want to say like that in an, like a Machiavellian, like, “Oh, we're trying to tank your student”, but just, there are certain people in teams that advocate in different ways for students. And it's probably a lot impacted sometimes I think by workload too, when--when teams are in overwhelm, I think of a year, like, COVID even like how crazy it is, this--this school year that, you know, sometimes all of those things can kind of get affected.
Yeah, absolutely. I see things. I mean, I also see, you know, the inequity of it all where, um, certain people get the things that they advocate for like a one-on-one aid, for example, um, because they advocate more loudly maybe, or because they know how to advocate or they know what to ask for--
Or they can afford an attorney that can ask for it.
Yeah, exactly, exactly. And then other people do not. And so that's what makes me sad is where it's like, you know, there's just--that's--this leads--will lead to inequity in special education and education. Um, but that's a whole other topic, I guess.
So thinking back, I mean, we kind of touched a little bit before on how we can initially contact a parent with just in general information, especially in terms of evaluation, but can we kind of loop that into again, if I am a monolingual, English speaking, SLP, and I have a student, whether it be Spanish or Greek or Russian or whatever, what are some considerations I need to take in assessment and evaluation when I'm trying to determine eligibility for service or recommend--because it's not my decision--but even to determine if there's a language or communication disorder that might serve as eligibility for services.
Yeah. So after you find out what the, um, languages spoken at home, uh, where I start is--I--I research if it's a language that I do not know about, which is pretty much any other language than Spanish, I will do my research. Um, and ASHA has a great--has a great list of languages and contrast of analysis. Um, and they have a whole list of more common languages. Sometimes there are languages that are not common and not included in that list. It's not exhaustive. I recently evaluated someone who spoke a language--Yoruba, which is a Western African dialect. So for that, I had to basically just, I Googled, um, and just did my own research and found as much information as I could about Yoruba the language, phoneme, the phonemes and Yoruba. I ended up citing a Master's thesis because that was all the information that there was , it was a great master's thesis though! And you just kind of do your research and figure out as much information as you can beforehand and get kind of an idea. And then what I do then is I do the evaluation. I mark, for me, I do mark kind of what would be considered errors or--or incorrect. Um, and then I will go back later and analyze if it's, maybe let's say an articulation assessment. If it's a language assessment, I will have parents come in as an interpreter. If I am not able to get an interpreter through the school district or through another agency. And, um, I will have the parent help serve as an interpreter for the language assessment or for the assessment.
Well, and I think the analysis of those results are probably a little bit different too, just to keep in mind that there's no norms typically for… you know, you're using it for data purposes to analyze, you know, to have like baseline and filter through all of that research that you're doing and discuss with the team, but we can't then take that in and use the norms tables.
Yeah. I don't ever report the scores if it is not normed on their language background. In fact, again, for the student or the clients that I did the Yoruba analysis for, I made sure to say that I cannot report the scores because it's not--it was not normed on a child with his language background. And so I just said that I reported the qualitative data.
Yeah. That's... and I think it's important to note because I do, you know, and even it it's one of those things, if we--if we don't have a lot of experience in this or haven't--I--I think again, the resources that Sarah and I have had in the area of the country that we live in, I had really awesome conversations with bilingual SLPs and dove in deep to different topics. But, if I don't have that accessible to me, then, um, I will say the difference now though, is I think there are courses now, there are so many resources that can go and do research and really dig into this topic that even if you have just one family on your caseload, this might apply to, it is worth it because it's the only way to really, um, appropriately service this child and this family and support them in a meaningful way.
Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, at the end of the evaluation, it's always good again, to touch base with the family and say, this is what I found in the evaluation. Um, is, does this sound like your child, does this sound--did I get a good picture of your child? Um, and then they may say, um, no, actually they can do this at home. Or they may say, oh yeah, that's exactly--that's exactly what we're seeing at home. Um, and then you can put that in the report as well.
And parents are also a great barometer for asking them questions. Like, how does your child look in comparison to siblings in the family or cousins, or, you know, like--that's one of the things too, where they might not always have the pulse on like our professional jargon, but they will know--like know--like the--you know, he speaks differently and you might be able to pull some information out of really what that means. Um, and use that in your evaluation as well.
Yeah. They may say, you know what, no one can understand them. I understand them like 60% of the time and dad and brother understand him 40% of the time. And then, you know, you know what, this is an actual, this is a disorder and not a dialectical difference.
And--and so--and we really are relying a lot of these cases that, you know, we talked about the standardized assessments. Now, I think somebody asked about this on the Summit, there is a self--Spanish version of The Self, correct? But kind of old? Or there's a newer version?
I honestly--I have not used The Self in a very long time. I will be fully transparent. Um, the problem with The Self also is that--so The Self is, I believe normed--and again, could be wrong--but The Self (Spanish) is normed I believe on Spanish speakers, and then in Spanish. And then The Self (English) is normed on English speakers. There's--it's not normed on bilingual speakers. [Agreement from Sarah] Um, and so sometimes we have our--I mean, especially where I am--we have bilingual speakers that speak both English and Spanish.
Well I guess what I was thinking, do you use a lot of formal standards? Actually, I shouldn't say standardized assessments, or we're really relying on language sampling and dynamic assessment and...
Well, I think it's different too. If you think about, in a clinic setting versus even like an educational setting, we're looking at education in schools, we're looking at eligibility for education, but what I know can also pop up is that you have students that are labeled as bilingual, but they're really not. They've got like--[unintelligible]--like ways that Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills, because they’re using Spanish at home with parents, but then they're in school and they're trying to learn CALP, which is that Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency and so that's a very different level. So then at some point their English can surpass their Spanish and then there were points where they're equal or--it, you know--there's so many moving parts in being bilingual, especially as a student, who's in a English only speaking school. It's just--it's--it's a fascinating kind of topic to dive into.
Um, there is a--an--an Instagram person, Laleo, I don't know if you guys know her, L-A-L-E-O. She is--she was years ago--and I think she will put it up periodically--but she put up this continuum of being bilingual that I found so helpful in my own life. Um, just to conceptualize what it is like to be a Bilingual. I've always thought that, you know--you needed to be perfect to be a Bilingual. You had to be perfectly perfect in English and perfect and Spanish for you to be considered a bilingual. But to be honest, some, I mean, some days my Spanish, like, especially if I'm tired, I have a hard time accessing my Spanish language more than if, um, first thing in the morning I'm like had my coffee, I'm ready to go, and it's because in--honestly, also in seasons of life, um--you know, you kind of will change on this continuum of bilingualism. And I found that to be so, so helpful. Um, and it doesn't make you less bilingual or less than, and I loved that idea. I loved it. Um, and so, yeah, you're right. That it's--you--you're kind of accessing different parts of your bilingualism at different points. And especially if you are not placed in a dual language program, like in my own personal experience, I was not placed in a dual language program. Spanish is my native language, is the first language I spoke. I was surrounded by family that only spoke Spanish. And then we moved to Texas and we only spoke English and I was placed in an English only classroom, so then my Spanish became basically stopped at age six, like developing really ‘cause my nuclear family only spoke English and then my English skills grew. Um, and so then it's been, you know, consistently growing in my Spanish, but I would say my BICS Spanish is higher than my CALP Spanish. And I've had to really work on, on my count Spanish, um, those academic skills.
And, well, it is--
I'm sorry, go ahead.
No, go ahead.
I was just gonna say, I think it's so funny that I remember one of my first kind of A-Ha’s as a young person, not even in the field of speech pathology, but my first, like, long-term boyfriend Cuban. And his family, they spoke Spanish with the dad, they spoke English with the mom, and mom and dad spoke Spanish together. So you have all of these dynamics going on at home, too. And my [same] ex-boyfriend, he was similar. They only spoke Spanish until he entered school. And then one of the funny stories we used to laugh at is--a kid came up to him and spoke English and he punched him in the face because he thought he was like saying something like, you know, like “What, why are you talking about this?” (Punch sound effect). Like, you know, little, um, but you know, so his acquisition, and then I remember his sister being in like Spanish class in high school and I'm like, “Well, you're getting A's in that. Right? Like you're--you're bilingual”. And she was like, “No?”. And I said, “I don't get it. Like you--you--you speak perfect Spanish”. And she goes, “You take English, right? And you--so you always get A's?” and I go “Oh, she's studying English, studying Spanish is a different set of proficiency. And that goes into, I think that BICS and CALP kind of ideas too. So keeping that in mind, but that was a huge A-Ha like where I'm like, “Oh yeah, I guess it is different. You are bilingual, clearly, but how you're using the language, the way you're acquiring acquiring vocabulary, because even in English, we think about all of the vocabulary that's acquired, you know, the different tiers of vocabulary and what is just specific to educational kind of vocabulary and those specific, you know, like kind of tier three words versus tier two that might be, you know, popping up everywhere”. So it's just a fascinating continuum.
No, actually, we had stopped--the reason that we stopped speaking at--ever stopped speaking Spanish at home was because my brother was delayed in language and a pediatrician told my mother to stop speaking in Spanish because it would, um, delay him. Um, which is another--I mean, which is something that I will say that, um, please don't ever tell a family to stop speaking to them in their native language. Because it does not cause delays. Bilingualism does not cause delays. I will say that, um, to make sure that--that SLPs do not help spread that message. Um, you know, all the research shows that that is not the case. Um, and I--I grieve for my parents and for our family that, that pediatrician said that, um, because that is such a loss in our family, that we stopped really speaking both languages. Um, and then from that point forward, my next brother too, um, he doesn't--neither of them speak Spanish, um, to, to the level that I do because we kind of stopped speaking Spanish at home so. That I will say, just make sure that we're encouraging our families to continue speaking their heritage language.
And they do ask in meetings. I think that's a common question. Should I be, you know, stopping? So that is definitely a way we can help advocate.
I have been in meetings where a teacher has said that to the--to the mom and I cut that off really, really quickly. But not only in letting them know that, in fact it does not cause delays, I want to encourage them--like no actively work on it, actively read books in Spanish at home, teach Spanish vocabulary. And, um, even like, you know, the grammar in that--like, because we, like, I explained that to the families a lot about, you know, now that they're primarily in an English speaking school and that's the--what we're working on for grammar and things like that, you know, the--the child's not going to get that same level of education in their home language. Um, and so I encourage the families to do that. So...
Yeah. And I even, um, have started advocating and telling them that it's important for their identity. I'll tell parents, like, please keep speaking to them in Spanish because it's important to who they are and for their culture. Um, and--and it's important for your family--for you to continue communicating in Spanish or in your native language. Um, I always--I always--I--and I, I--first thing I say, cause it--it'll always come up in an email or in the first meeting and they'll say, “Oh, I'm worried that this language I’m speaking--this language is causing a delay” and I'm quick--I will stop everything to make sure that I tell them research shows that it does not cause a delay.
Okay. Yes. And that's what I'm--I'm so grateful I knew that too, because I have meetings where I've heard it--but I was--I would always say too, we've got English here. We're good. At home, continue with your native language and the language of your home.
And what I think that leads into another great kind of, um, question as far as, and I think it came up in the Q&A as far as: what are diverse resources that I can use to help support language development? Whether it be in my therapy or--I think that could be a first step is make sure that, whatever you're doing, provide suggestions that parents can do in their home language. So if you're working on story retell and all of that, get them on board, but just have them practice, you know, in Spanish. And representation, obviously, in materials. But what else can we be thinking of, um, as we're working with--with families--from families and students from diverse backgrounds?
I love the idea. I mean, so story retell is a great, great, great, great narrative based, um, therapy is great. And I love the idea of choosing books that are bilingual and that are easily accessible in both languages. And so if it is that you are reading it in English, maybe sending home--if you can find it on YouTube or a book online, you can email it to the parents in Spanish and say, “Here, can you read this at home with your child in, in Spanish?” Um, and choosing being thoughtful and intentional by choosing books that are available in both. I love that idea. Um, and then even just incorporating that child's culture in your therapy sessions. And so that would look like--like listening to music, like if you're working, if you're drying or just working on kind of like a, if it is that you're just taking like a little break, like a sensory break or a craft break, let's sing to music in Spanish. Asking them what is a song that you listen to at home? Um, what's the song your dad likes? And seeing if you can find it on Spotify or whatever you have on your phone. Um, bringing in, if you have snacks. I mean, I don't usually bring in food, but if it is that you, you like to bring food maybe for like a special like holiday treat or something, um, seeing what kind of snacks that they like--like to eat if there's like a candy or something that they, they like, um--
Or like a game!
Yeah, I guess, yes. Um, well I was going to suggest one, but it's probably not child appropriate, but they're like [overlapping laughter and comments]--well, I, I played it as a child, but like I, as an adult, probably wouldn't bring it into a school setting. I almost did though! And then I looked at the game card and was like--Oh no! It's Lotería. So like lottery, um, if you've ever looked--I wish I had it, but it's like--so I mean, I, again, I played that, everyone plays it all the time, but they're like game cards, like bingo game cards. Um, but they call out, I don't know if you guys have seen it, but they call out and some of the cards are the drunk, emborracho, and, um, the mermaid. Um, and she, I mean, she's beautiful, but like--maybe not like what you want to show children. [overlapping laughter and comments] So the devil is one of them. So again, I played it as a child, but I bought it thinking like, “Oh my gosh, this will be great to play with my kids!” and then made it to my car and then looked at it and was like, “No!”
Can you just pull those ones out? Or are they big on the game card?
It’s on the card. I have seen some kid appropriate ones though! I may have to invest in.
If you could invent one, do, do one and sell it on TT--a version. No, I always think of two, like these going back to what you said too, about connecting with the family and how it really is our responsibility to show that we're interested. So you can ask your student, but send an email home and ask parents to wish favorites. What game do they like to play? What books are you reading right now and at home, wherever that is. And because it all goes back to, I don't care what language you speak, if I think somebody is genuinely interested in my child, that makes me happy!
And you told a story about that during the Summit, too, about as a student in the group and trying to get to know him and asking him questions specifically about the--oh, no, another student, you were encouraging the other student to seek more information. Yes.
Yes, yes, yes, yes. He was, um, the, it was two students. One was Mexican-American and one was Honduran and it was so beautiful. I mean, to see two Latinx men, little boys, small children--little boy sounded weird--boys talking to each other about latinidad and being Latino. Like I just--it was beautiful. I mean, what a privilege to witness that awesome conversation, it was so cool. And they were forming connections with each other, like, “Oh, I have that!” Or, um, “Oh my grandpa's like that!”. Um, and then they were seeing like how they were different, um, because, uh, the one--that one child who was Mexican American, he had been here for at least a couple of generations, whereas, um, my friend who was Honduran and was a recent immigrant. And so there's that difference as well. And so it was just what an awesome experience and they got to learn from each other.
Compare and contrast school work done today, check! Like, how cool can you work on goals in real life--
While celebrating diversity.
Yeah! And then I think too, like all of this idea of if you are bringing in parents with this--because I think this was a question that was asked to you about how do we even get parents comfortable, or families comfortable, with sharing their narratives with us? Well, if you're just like seeing them once a year at the IEP and then just talking, you know, all of the hard stuff that might go over any parent's head, because it's so specialized and kind of high-intensity in, in these meetings. But if I'm checking in throughout the year and asking, you know, trying to develop a relationship before we get to that part or spot like how much better is that? And that's not, again, I feel like all of these concepts are not just for bilingual families. This is for families in general.
And I will say, I--I am--I try to be intentional with, um, spending extra time with families, especially at that first point of contact when we're getting consent for evaluation. I mean, and I know, I know how, how busy we are with, uh, with our caseload numbers, but I try to really, especially when I sit with the families and them getting them to sign the consent form, I will sit there with them and go over every single point so that it's informed consent. And I take that time also to really, to kind of spend a few extra minutes, um, because usually at that point, at least in my experience, the administrator will leave. Um, maybe the teacher will have left and it's just myself and the parent or the caregiver. And--so that's my opportunity to kind of spend some time and, and get to know them a little bit more. And while I'm getting their signature and then making some copies and bringing them back, it's just some extra, like five to 10 minutes, even of getting to know them and then asking those questions, “What does your child like? So I can have that in there--ready for their evaluation. Tell me about your child”. Um, even just on that first point of contact, I think it's a great time to start that--that connection.
You using that term informed consent. Uh, I think that came up in your presentation. And I remember thinking, huh, have I ever actually even considered that again, I feel like I was very good at trying to explain to parents and get their input in there and have them, you know, be a part of a discussion and make sure they felt comfortable. But I don't know if I ever really thought about what it was I was asking them to sign. And if they truly were doing it with informed consent.
Yeah. I--I that is one of my biggest, biggest pet peeves. Um, when I see papers just kind of put in front of families and say, okay, if you agree, sign! Like we cannot assume anything. I mean, we can't assume that, uh, literacy, we cannot assume that they will read this and know what they're signing. We--we need to sit there. And I mean, I know that we're all busy, believe me, I know, but this is not okay. This is their child. They are signing these things for their child. We need to make sure that we are providing them the informed consent and providing them that opportunity to say no, if they--if they so choose.
I love that. I think I'm sitting here thinking all the many, many things. I mean, we could dive into so many, like go deep into so many conversations and I feel like it could be it. I mean, it definitely should just be like this ongoing series. Um, and so anyway, when we finish this podcast episode, we'll talk to you about what that looks like for our working relationship.
I was just sitting here thinking about all the mistakes I've made.
Oh that too!
Cause that's what I think like--when you, I know, you know--you--you--you know, more, you do, what is it?
[Overlapping trying to determine the correct phrase]
When you know better, you do better.
I’m sorry. This whole day. I'm telling you, Chelsea, I keep--Sarah just keeps looking at me because it's been--there've been many things going on this little brain of mine today. But anyways, I think that, um, that--that whole idea, like, obviously you do, but then I always will kind of punish myself and go back and be like, oh my gosh, I think of all the examples of how I messed up.
Oh, trust me. Those are the only things I do. Remember. I replay them on a loop.
Yeah. See, I, so I had therapy today and we talked about my inner critic because I have one as well. And she says, my therapist, Marisa, I love her. She told me that when--
Oh I thought that was your inner critic. I thought you named your inner critic Marisa.
No, no, no! Marisa, my therapist, she told me that when that inner critic comes up, it's our protector in the past, that they have been there to protect us. But it's not, it's not helpful to hear that. And so it's learning ways to maybe tell ourselves, you know, what we were doing our best with--we were doing our best with what we knew at the time. And so you were saying, when we know better, we do better. And so now know.
We're in an audience though, like that throws tomatoes sometimes at me when our one critic is like a whole group and it's continuous
My therapist, Marisa, not my critic, she told me to fill up the jar with all the nice things I think of myself. So when this mean person is in my head, I can read these nice things. So I--I encourage you and everybody to do that. Cause I love that idea.
And Sarah just gave me a gratitude journal that I have had and last night was the first time I opened it. And the first thing, one of those is just taking that. Like we--we--they talked about like even bucket lists and you think about all the things you haven't done that you want to do. And they were like, let's do a reverse bucket list. Like start to write down some of the things, whether it be people that you've met or things that you've done to just sort of like reflect on the things that you do do well, you know, like that's the kind of--that I think, whether you're doing it formally, I really thank you for that, I did need it last night. It was one of those nights where my brain was just buzzing and I'm like, okay, just need to sit down. And I look over and I'm like, I could just do it.
It's every day, it's a daily prompt for--write down three things you're grateful for and we're trying to get specific. And so it's just such a cool way to really sit there and think about, I mean, even something as silly as like having three dubs greet me, like “I'm the greatest thing that's ever lived on this planet” every time I walk in a room, you know? Um, I'm grateful for that. So yes, I love that. You know, the idea of like, it's there, it's there as a protector, but it's not helpful. And so we've got to focus away from it. And so to have to write in all the things you do well, you know, we all--how great are we, I, hopefully we all know this. We start every meeting with strengths, right? For a reason. One, because we want to celebrate them. And two, because those strengths are important for everything else we're about to do to help support a need. Right? So you've got to really pull these strengths together, um, before we even start to discuss maybe possible areas of needs, but for our own selves. Do we do that? Do we ever, ever like really start to write out all of our strengths?
And that's why it's beautiful. Like you think--you talk about--like your journaling and doing it first part of the day for yourself--of writing three things you're grateful for, it is setting the tone for your day of “I can handle all this other stuff because I started from: things are not entirely horrible”.
I love that. Yeah.
This conversation is--the takeaway better just have been that this was as beautiful as your SLP Summit presentation. It just like--you know what I'm saying? Like even this, there's so many little sweet takeaways and touches and things that just make me want to lead with my heart. Like only. I make every decision just by being a good human being.
And that I would like to tell Joe that I liked the fluff, fluff, fluffity fluff. So tick tock, you don't have to listen. That's the critique desk from earlier.
I was like who’s Joe? All the feelings, feelings are important. Feelings are valid. I love feelings.
Chelsea, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with us. We really appreciate you. And we're grateful that we've been able to have a couple of opportunities to get to know you a little bit better. And--and hopefully those listening had some powerful takeaways. Email us, you guys at podcasts@SLPtoolkit.com. If you've got follow-up questions or thoughts or ideas for future episodes. Um, and yeah, anything else?
Just if--if you have a minute to rate the podcast, we would love that too, because I just think it helps people find us. And here are these awesome people that we have on like Chelsea, thank you for your time.
In the show, notes will be any resource that was mentioned during this episode. And then, um, Chelsea we’ll reach out to you after this, too, to see if there's anything else you want to include. Um, your Instagram handles and your social media and your website and any of that kind of stuff too. We'll make sure that we share that.
Thank you all for having me.