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Misdiagnosis - Dialects Are a Difference, Not a Disorder

In a 1990 study, first-grade children who spoke a certain dialect without any speech-language treatment were more likely to be misdiagnosed with a speech sound disorder using standardized articulation/phonology tests. The dialect features were scored as errors rather than acceptable for their dialect (see source)-and little has changed since then.

Children can be affected in many ways by a misdiagnosis. As speech-language pathologists and students of speech-language pathology, we need to understand typical and atypical speech and language development because the clients we see daily are diverse. Misdiagnosis can be reduced, and the emotional and educational impact on minority students can be lessened. Find out more in this ARTICLE by Alexis Lawton, MS, CF-SLP!

Source: Cole, P. L., & Taylor, O. L. (1990). Performance of working-class African-American children on three tests of articulation. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 21(3), 171–176.


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