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Communication Sciences and Disorders
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Bilingual/Bicultural Program Focus

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Bilingual/Bicultural Program Focus


Contact: Catherine J. Crowley, CCC-SLP, J.D., Ph.D.

Distinguished Lecturer and Coordinator of  the Bilingual/Bicultural
Program Focus in the MS program in CSD,
and the Bolivian and Ghana Projects, and Director of the Bilingual Extension Institute

Educating Speech Language Pathologists
to Work Effectively in our Multicultural World
As members of a leading university in New York City, the faculty and clinical staff in the program in speech-language pathology at Teachers College Columbia University have a strong commitment to educating students so that as professionals they work effectively in a multicultural world. The knowledge and skills needed to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services are integrated into our course work and clinical experiences. We understand and appreciate the value of having a multicultural student body and the richness that diversity brings to our classroom discussions and clinical experiences.
All students in the masters program in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Teachers College have significant opportunities to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to work with multicultural populations. The faculty has extensive experience and knowledge in bilingual and multicultural matters and incorporates this knowledge into the courses. As a result, all students who graduate from the program have significant exposure to the issues related to providing appropriate speech-language services to multicultural populations. 

The Bilingual/Bicultural Program Focus to the
Master’s Program in Communication Sciences and Disorders
Those students matriculated into the master’s program in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Teachers College who wish to have a more in-depth experience can choose to pursue the bilingual/bicultural program focus. This program focus is available for students who are interested in focusing on developing knowledge and skills to provide quality services to non-native speakers of General American English and to English Language Learners.
For those students who are bilingual and follow this program, they meet the academic and field placement coursework requirements for the New York State Education Department bilingual extension certificate. Under New York State Education Department regulations, the bilingual extension certificate is required to provide speech and language intervention to bilingual children and adolescents ages 3 through 21.
Because the information is integrated into the required coursework for the master’s of science program in speech-language pathology, students only need to take one addition three-credit course to meet the requirements of bilingual/bicultural program focus, and of the NYS Education Department bilingual extension certificate.

The requirements for the bilingual/bicultural program focus are:
  • BBSQ 5041 School speech-language-hearing program;

  • BBSQ 5111 Assessment and Evaluation, with bilingual/bicultural focus faculty;

  • BBSQ 5115 Language Disorders in Children, with bilingual/bicultural focus faculty;

  • BBSQ 5120 Communication Disorders in Bilingual/Bicultural Children;

  • 50 hours of bilingual therapy/evaluations with children and/or adolescents supervised by a certified bilingual speech-language pathologist as part of the total hours required by ASHA; and

  • A passing score on the NYS Education Department’s Bilingual Education Assessment a content-based test of language proficiencies in English and the student’s non-English language. 

Opportunities for clinical experiences with culturally and linguistically diverse clients
The Edward D. Mysak Clinic at Teachers College
Most of the clients in the Edward D. Mysak Speech and Hearing Clinic in the speech-language pathology program come from a variety of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Currently, four of our five clinical supervisors are bilingual, including the Assistant Director of the clinic. The program has many contacts with high-quality bilingual speech-language pathologists who supervise our students in off-campus practicum placements.  In addition, the program has many contacts with off-campus practicum placements where students can work with bilingual culturally and linguistically diverse clients.
As an outgrowth of the Bolivia Project, students who speak Spanish have the opportunity to provide aural habilitation and language therapy to students at a school for the Deaf in Bolivia. Our TC CSP students have been working in that school for the past several years as part of the Bolivia project. In 2008 through the efforts of Dr. Melissa Inniss, audiologist and speech language pathologist, and Ray Inniss, computer technology specialist, and the Downey Family Foundation, many of the students at the school received hearing aids for the first time. In September 2008, eight students in the masters program, under the supervision of Professor Crowley, provided aural habilitation and language therapy in "real time" via Skype. This effort is continuing now under the supervison of Elise Wagner, Assistant Director of the Clinic.
See: Telepractice from TC clinic to school in Bolivia
International Clinical Experiences
Students who participate in the Bolivian Project receive clinical hours. While in Bolivia students are supervised at their placement sites by ASHA-certified SLPs. The Bolivian hours can also count towards the 50 bilingual hours required for the bilingual extension certificate and towards the total hours required by ASHA.
See: The Bolivia Project 2008
In the Ghana Project students similarly provide speech and language services either in English or through interpreters. As a former British colony, English is the language of higher education so teachers, doctors, nurses, and other professionals speak English as well as college-education clients.
See: The Ghana Project 2009

The Bilingual Extension Institute
Bilingual speech-language participants who are not part of the masters program in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Teachers College, may participate in the Bilingual Extension Institute. The Institute is an intensive program designed to provide bilingual speech-language pathologists with the knowledge and skills needed to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services to bilingual children and adolescents.
The Bilingual Extension Institute is co-sponsored by the Department of Biobehavioral Studies and the Center of Educational Outreach & Innovation. It is approved for non-matriculated, non-degree bilingual speech-language providers. Its faculty members are all highly experienced speech-language pathologists and linguistics who have extensive experience working with bilingual and other culturally and linguistically diverse students. Ms. Catherine Crowley is the coordinator.
This Institute satisfies the academic and field-experience requirements of the New York State Education Department for the bilingual extension to the Teacher of Students with Speech and Language Disabilities teaching certificate. It is designed to train students in areas of study that are needed by bilingual speech-language clinicians working with culturally and linguistically diverse children and adolescents.
Great effort is made to coordinate lectures, presentations, discussions and hands-on experience in class with the experience of clinical work in schools. In addition, project-based learning brings theory and practice out of the classroom and into the everyday clinical work of the participants (and vice versa). The Institute meets for six weekends in May, June, September, October, November and December and is taught by its eight-person faculty.