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Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Position paper

The Multilingual Children with Speech Sound Disorders: Position Paper was created by the International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children's Speech.

The complete version of the position paper can be found here. Excerpts are included below.

Purpose of the position paper

"The position paper is an aspirational document for individuals who strive for the development of policies and best practices for multilingual and/or multicultural children with speech sound disorders. It is based on international understandings of professional practice. It suggests a foundation for speech-language pathologists (SLPs) working in health/medical, education, and community sectors, as well as professional associations, governments, and universities that prepare SLPs to promote speech and language competence for all children in the languages of their communities. It is also relevant for everyone involved with enhancing the communicative competence of multilingual children, including interpreters, educators, and other professionals, families and communities." (International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children's Speech, 2012, p.1)

"Within the position paper the International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children's Speech: 

  1. Acknowledges that children are competent, capable, and creative and have individual characteristics, interests, and circumstances. 
  2. Recognizes, values, and promotes genuine, reciprocal and respectful partnerships between children, families, communities, SLPs, interpreters, educators, and all who support the acquisition of communicative competence.
  3. Acknowledges that recent technological advances have increased access to and availability of information about languages (including real-time international audiovisual linkages) that enable re-envisioning of best practice.
  4. Encourages critical reflection on established policies and practices and their underlying assumptions." (International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children's Speech, 2012, p.1)

Position statement

"The International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children's Speech recommends that:

  1. Children are supported to communicate effectively and intelligibly in the languages spoken within their families and communities, in the context of developing their cultural identities.
  2. Children are entitled to professional speech and language assessment and intervention services that acknowledge and respect their existing competencies, cultural heritage, and histories. Such assessment and intervention should be based on the best available evidence.
  3. SLPs aspire to be culturally competent and to work in culturally safe ways.
  4. SLPs aspire to develop partnerships with families, communities, interpreters, and other health and education professionals to promote strong and supportive communicative environments.
  5. SLPs generate and share knowledge, resources, and evidence nationally and internationally to facilitate the understanding of cultural and linguistic diversity that will support multilingual children's speech acquisition and communicative competency. 
  6. Governments, policy makers, and employers acknowledge and support the need for culturally competent and safe practices and equip SLPs with additional time, funding, and resources in order to provide equitable services for multilingual children." (International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children's Speech, 2012, p. 2)

Suggested citation for the position paper:

International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children's Speech (2012). Multilingual children with speech sound disorders: Position paper. Bathurst, NSW, Australia: Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education (RIPPLE), Charles Sturt University. Retrieved from

ISBN 978-0-9874288-0-6

Information about the creation of the position paper:

McLeod, S., Verdon, S., Bowen, C., and the International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children's Speech (2013). International aspirations for speech-language pathologists' practice with multilingual children with speech sound disorders: Development of a position paper. Journal of Communication Disorders, 46(4), 375–387.