The Sociolinguistically Trained Speech-Language Pathologist: Using Knowledge of African American English to Aid and Empower African American Clientele Purpose This article furthers the conversation about how speech-language pathologists (SLPs) can incorporate an understanding of language variation as they provide services to multicultural populations—particularly African Americans, a population that disproportionately receives speech-language pathology services yet is underrepresented within the speech-language pathology community. We call for moving beyond discussions ... Article
Article  |   September 19, 2018
The Sociolinguistically Trained Speech-Language Pathologist: Using Knowledge of African American English to Aid and Empower African American Clientele
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Anne H. Charity Hudley
    Department of Linguistics, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA
  • Christine Mallinson
    Language, Literacy & Culture Program, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD
  • Kenay Sudler
    New York City Department of Education, District 32, Brooklyn, NY
  • Mackenzie Fama
    Department of Neurology, Center for Brain Plasticity and Recovery, Georgetown University Medical Center & MedStar National Rehabilitation Network, Washington, DC
  • Disclosures
    Disclosures ×
  • Financial: Anne H. Charity Hudley has no relevant financial interests to disclose. Christine Mallinson has no relevant financial interests to disclose. Kenay Sudler has no relevant financial interests to disclose. Mackenzie Fama has no relevant financial interests to disclose.
    Financial: Anne H. Charity Hudley has no relevant financial interests to disclose. Christine Mallinson has no relevant financial interests to disclose. Kenay Sudler has no relevant financial interests to disclose. Mackenzie Fama has no relevant financial interests to disclose.×
  • Nonfinancial: Anne H. Charity Hudley has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose. Christine Mallinson has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose. Kenay Sudler has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose. Mackenzie Fama has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose.
    Nonfinancial: Anne H. Charity Hudley has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose. Christine Mallinson has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose. Kenay Sudler has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose. Mackenzie Fama has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose.×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Part 3
Article   |   September 19, 2018
The Sociolinguistically Trained Speech-Language Pathologist: Using Knowledge of African American English to Aid and Empower African American Clientele
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, September 2018, Vol. 3, 118-131. doi:10.1044/persp3.SIG1.118
History: Received January 29, 2018 , Revised July 11, 2018 , Accepted July 27, 2018
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, September 2018, Vol. 3, 118-131. doi:10.1044/persp3.SIG1.118
History: Received January 29, 2018; Revised July 11, 2018; Accepted July 27, 2018

Purpose This article furthers the conversation about how speech-language pathologists (SLPs) can incorporate an understanding of language variation as they provide services to multicultural populations—particularly African Americans, a population that disproportionately receives speech-language pathology services yet is underrepresented within the speech-language pathology community. We call for moving beyond discussions of linguistic difference versus deficit that tend to largely focus on strategies to avoid penalizing dialect speakers and moving toward investigations of other cultural, social, and linguistic considerations that hold immediate and practical importance. In addition, we share insights and recommendations from 2 SLPs with training in sociolinguistics who draw upon an understanding of language variation, particularly African American English (AAE), in their work.

Conclusion There are a number of methods that SLPs can use in their practices that incorporate knowledge about AAE to empower African American clientele. To further benefit this population, there must be an increase in the percentage of SLPs who speak and use AAE and the percentage who apply sociolinguistic understandings of language variation to assessment and intervention. More research is needed that explores SLPs' experiences working with clientele who speak AAE and other varieties—notably, how they perceive and understand AAE and how this impacts their practice.

Acknowledgments
Research for this work was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant 0512005 and the College of William and Mary, awarded to Anne H. Charity Hudley. We would like to thank Megan-Brette Hamilton for coordinating this special issue, our editors and reviewers for their insights and suggestions, Katherine Mills for her helpful feedback, and Jon Inscoe for his research assistance.
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