The Missing Link for SLPs
3 Powerful Ways to Address Systemic Inequalities in Speech Pathology


Dr. Latimer-Hearn shares what she’s learned through her studies surrounding African American English and why speech-language pathologists and educators need to be aware of different dialects when diagnosing and treating clients. She also details her time working as an SLP overseas and how she’s come to run advocacy groups and professional development groups online. 

Discussion & Reflection Questions

  1. Tell us about who you are, your background, and why you decided to go into the field of speech-language pathology.
  2. For other SLPs who want to travel and work overseas, tell us how that worked for you.
  3. Tell us about the research you do and what made you so passionate about the subject you research.
  4. Tell us about the specific groups that you do manage and are involved with on Facebook, and some of the projects you’re involved in.
  5. Tell us what you’re doing to address the black-white achievement gap.
  6. If you could wave a magic wand and get the message out there that you want to get out there about the gap, what would you say? 
  7. What are some of the underlying issues in the educational system that contribute to the gap?
  8. Do you have any words of encouragement for new speech pathologists or ones who have been in the trenches for a little while?

Quote Of The Conversation

“Think outside of the box and really explore your options, and think about how you can make the biggest impact on the field itself. But then again, going back to the advocacy, make sure that everyone has a voice.” – Dionna Latimer-Hearn, Ph. D., CCC-SLP

Dionna Latimer-Hearn, Ph. D., CCC-SLP

Educational Director of REACT Initiative, Inc. and founder of Respect The Dialect.

Dionna Latimer-Hearn received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a minor in French Studies from Northwestern University. She completed her Master of Arts Degree in Speech-Language Pathology at George Washington University. She is an avid traveler and has served as a multilingual speech-language pathologist and educational consultant since 2002, holding positions in Illinois, France, Japan, Maryland, and Texas.

Dr. Latimer-Hearn received her Doctor of Philosophy Degree with distinction in Instructional Leadership at Notre Dame of Maryland University. She is a recipient of the AERA Minority Dissertation Fellowship Award. She has presented her research on African American English at more than a dozen conferences and currently offers professional development for educators and SLPs. Dr. Latimer-Hearn is the Education Director of the REACT Initiative, a Christian nonprofit advocating for equity in education. She is the founder of RespectTheDialect, a Facebook group promoting awareness and understanding of AAE.

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Guest Speaker Information

Dionna Latimer-Hearn, Ph. D., CCC-SLP
Lead Speech-Language Pathologist at Cleveland Clinic Martin Health and Owner of SpeechRx

Phone –    +1 (682) 777-2749 and

FacebookRespect The Dialect

LinkedInDionna Hearn

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1 Comment

  • Posted March 25, 2021 5:20 pm 0Likes
    by Mattie

    What are your thoughts on how to address inequalities and be an advocate as an SLP?

    Listen to the podcast, read the accompanying blog, and join the conversation in the comments section.

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