Source URL: View this document on the ASHA website

This document was created by a board of experts and outlines the competencies necessary to provide appropriate services to these populations. The document reminds clinicians that, ethically, they can only provide services “within the scope of their competence, considering their level of education, training, and experience.” One of the most important roles of a clinician working with diverse clients is to understand typical speech and language development versus disordered or delayed language for that client’s background. In order to work with bilingual or multilingual clients, clinicians must demonstrate “native or near-native proficiency in the language(s) spoken or signed by the client/patient” as well as knowledge of dialect differences and their impact on speech and language. The document also requires clinicians to be familiar with current research, best practice, and laws and regulations relevant to working with culturally and linguistically diverse clients. During assessment and evaluation, the clinician must use practices appropriate to diverse populations and materials employed must be psychometrically sound and free of bias. Providing services without adhering to these guidelines would be considered unethical.

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2004). Knowledge and skills needed by speech-language pathologists and audiologists to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services [Knowledge and Skills]. Retrieved from