Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Disorders

Document Type



The purpose of this study was to: 1) examine the screening practices and outcomes of Latinx bilingual Spanish/English-speaking children, 2) compare screening practices and outcomes to those of sex and age matched Black and white monolingual peers, and 3) extend and reflect on professional practices. I also explored variables that may affect screening outcomes, including the children’s race/ethnicity, sex, and socioeconomic status (SES).

The participants were 41 Spanish/English bilingual Latinx children aged two- to four-years-old (Latinx), 41 same sex and age monolingual Black children (Black), and 41 same sex and age monolingual white children (white) receiving speech/language screenings during a three-year period as part of a district’s Child Find program.

Forty-three percent of participants could not be screened. The Latinx group had the largest percentage of participants in this group (63%). Eighty-three percent of Latinx bilingual children failed the screener, compared to 68% of Black monolingual children, and 50% of white monolingual children. The children’s sex was not related to fail rates, but SES was. The Latinx group was significantly overrepresented in the lowest SES category (49%). Combining race/ethnicity, sex, and SES in a multivariate regression to predict fail rates, only race/ethnicity was significant, with a 0.84 predicted probability of failing for the Latinx bilingual group, a 0.73 predicted probability of failing for the Black monolingual group, and a 0.55 predicted probability of failing for the white monolingual group. After assessment, only Latinx participants qualified under the Autism disability category. Screener option coupled with eligibility category suggest the Latinx group presents with more complicated medical or developmental histories. Finally, data were available for 24 children who passed the screener but who were still administered a full assessment; 67% of these participants qualified for speech/language services. The white group made up the majority of these 24 (54%).

The findings suggest children classified as Latinx bilingual Spanish/English-speaking are quite different from children classified as either Black or white monolingual. These results highlight the critical need for more study of Spanish/English bilingual children and the development of more speech/language screening tools for these children.



Committee Chair

Oetting, B. Janna



Available for download on Monday, May 11, 2026