Marquette Program Addresses a Need for Milwaukee’s
Increasing Hispanic Population
Released: April 13, 2006
MILWAUKEE- According to the 2000 census data, Latinos are now the largest and fastest growing minority group in the United States. One of the greatest challenges facing many of these Americans is the Spanish-English language barrier. The Milwaukee Public School District educates nearly 18,000 Hispanic students. Without adequate Spanish proficiency and/or training in the multicultural assessment and treatment of speech and language disorders, services provided to Spanish speakers can be insufficient or non-existent.
Marquette University is addressing this problem by offering the Midwest’s only Bilingual English-Spanish Certificate (BIES) in Speech-Language Pathology. This certificate program prepares speech-language pathologists who are proficient in Spanish to evaluate and treat communicative disorders in individuals who are Spanish-dominant speakers.
“Every speech-language pathologist will work with a linguistically and culturally diverse individual during his or her career,” said Program Director Stacy Ko Sondag. “Some will encounter diversity on a daily basis in their practice. The question is, are they able to meet the challenge of evaluating and providing treatment for Spanish speakers? Speech-language pathologists today are obliged to prepare themselves to meet this ever-growing need.”
The students in the BIES program gain significant hands-on experience while still in school. The program requires completion of a minimum of 100 hours of clinical practicum experience in Spanish under the supervision of a bilingual speech-language pathologist at the Marquette University Speech and Hearing Clinic and through affiliations in area schools, hospitals and clinics.
“When Spanish speakers receive evaluation and therapy services from a trained bilingual speech-language pathologist the results can be dramatic,” said Sondag. “Fewer individuals are misdiagnosed and therapy services are executed with cultural and linguistic factors as primary considerations.”
As the only university in the Midwest offering this kind of program, graduates of Marquette’s bilingual speech pathology program are in high demand. The program has a 100% employment rate within six months of graduation.
IInterested media should contact Anne Broeker in the Office of marketing and Communication at (414) 288-0286.
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