First Advisor

Randall De Pry

Term of Graduation

Fall 2020

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Special and Counselor Education


Special Education




Speech therapists -- Study and teaching (Graduate), Minority graduate students, Sexual minority college students, Minorities -- Education (Graduate), Sexual minorities -- Education (Graduate), Multiculturalism



Physical Description

1 online resource (xii, 394 pages)


Speech-language pathologists provide assessment and intervention for communication, cognition, and swallowing disorders for individuals across the lifespan in educational, medical, and private practice settings. The demographics of professionals in the field do not reflect those of the general public in regard to race and ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, LGBTQ+, and disability. Lack of representation of minorities limits research, policy, and services designed to serve diverse populations. Although initiatives have sought to address lack of diversity of speech-language pathologists, limited research on the graduate training experience for minority students is available. Since a master's degree is required to become a speech-language pathologist, the experiences of minority students in their graduate training programs offer a unique perspective on inclusion in relation to diversity. This study examined minority graduate students' experiences of inclusion, their advice to a peer, recommendations to programs, and the design of an inclusive recruitment flyer. Results of the study showed how many speech-language pathology graduate programs are designed to operate from a privileged perspective that is white, middle-class, female, cisgender and heterosexual, and neurotypical and able-bodied. When applying critical theory and social justice concepts, this perspective serves as a form of privilege that oppresses minority students through multiple practices that grant benefits and opportunities to a dominant identity group. Recommendations are provided to program administrators, faculty members, and students, which address underlying beliefs about diversity, offer ways to change the environment to promote inclusion, and include mitigation strategies for the negative effects of lack of inclusion.


© 2020 Teresa Michelle Roberts

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