Publication Date

Spring 4-28-2023

Document Type

Student Project

First Advisor

Buac, Milijana

Degree Name

B.S. (Bachelor of Science)


School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders


To diagnose a child with a language impairment, speech-language pathologists (SLPs) most often rely on standardized norm-referenced assessment tools. However, current norm-referenced assessment tools used to make speech-language diagnostic decisions are often not representative of the linguistic variability observed in many children in the United States. This issue creates a need for bias free assessment tools. One approach to help reduce bias in assessment is the use of processing-based tasks. These tasks attempt to reduce bias by focusing on overall skills such as memory and eliminate the reliance on prior linguistic knowledge. One processing-based measure that has shown diagnostic potential is a non-word repetition task. In this task, clients are asked to repeat non-sensical words that are based on a languages’ phonotactic structure while systematically increasing in length and complexity. In the present study, we administered two non-word repetition tasks to Spanish-English bilingual pre-school age children (n = 11; Mean age = 5.19, SD = 0.79). Children completed one non-word repetition task in which the non-words were based on English phonology and one where the non-words were based on Spanish phonology. Correlation analyses were used to compare the performance on the non-word repetition tasks to a standardized measure of morphosyntax and a parent rating of children’s language skills. The results revealed that the non-word repetition task has diagnostic potential, but appears to be more suitable for the weaker language. Specifically, a significant correlation between the non-word repetition task and the standardized assessment was only found in Spanish but not in English, and all participants had lower Spanish language skills. Thus, present findings warrant further investigation into how non-word repetition tasks can be used with bilingual children especially when their language skills are not equally balanced.