Look Towards Your Team for Support
“My patient, an 85-year-old Mandarin speaker, was nonresponsive in the hospital after a stroke. The family shared that their grandmother lived with them in the home but didn’t speak much before the stroke, either. The doctor was trying to get information from the patient, who kept nodding affirmatively in response to all of his questions and comments. But he [the doctor] wasn’t certain if she was really agreeing with him or nodding because he was talking. The neurologist referred her for a complete audiologic evaluation before the speech-language pathologist could do the language assessment. Conducting the pure-tone testing wasn’t complicated, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to complete speech audiometry since I only had spondees and Pb-word lists in English. I called the Interpreter line that we had to discuss some ideas for how we could accomplish this. We had someone on nursing staff who could also assist with the evaluation. I talked to the family to find out a little more about any concerns about her hearing before the stroke. It turns out, they had noticed the challenges in hearing for a bit but felt that was a natural part of aging. They didn’t seek help but would be open to finding out what options may be available.”
It is not appropriate to simply translate, then use, a test that has been developed and normed in a specific language. Compromised performance may be due to language background rather than hearing and/or processing difficulties.
Tips on Alternative Assessments
- Ensure that you have information regarding the language(s) used prior to evaluation.
- Make necessary steps to ensure that you can evaluate in all languages required.
- Familiarize yourself with non-standard and alternative assessments.