127: Dynamic Assessment and More with Nia Thomas

Dynamic Assessment and More with Nia Thomas




Have you ever struggled to diagnose an English language learner because you aren’t sure if it’s a difference or a disorder? 

Many SLPs struggle with this because we don’t want to be wrong about a diagnosis just because our student is learning the English language. The most effective way for us to really understand our ELLs is to use dynamic assessments and language sampling instead of standardized tests. 

In today’s episode of SLP Coffee Talk, I sat down with Nia Thomas to talk about how you can use dynamic assessments to determine if your students really have a speech disorder or if it’s just a difference. 

Nia Thomas is a school-based bilingual speech-language pathologist, educator, and storyteller from NYC. She graduated from SUNY New Paltz in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Disorders and Black Studies. She went on to obtain her Master’s in Science from Teacher’s College, Columbia University. 

A two-time Writing Our Lives alumni, Nia has written for Bustle, Remezcla, Fierce by Mitú, ASHA Leader Live, and other online publications. She is also the founder and editor of Bilingual Speech Resources. 

Nia is passionate about education and has helped lead a series of workshops, including but not limited to: “Decolonizing Grit: How to Highlight and Grow Resistance in our Communities” (2019 Decolonizing Education conference) and “Education, Equity and Excellence During COVID-19” (2020 New Paltz Alumni Series) and Dynamic Assessment for Students Who Are Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (2021 BRIQT PD Equity Series.) 


In This Episode You’ll Discover:

  • Why dynamic assessments are more effective than standardized tests with ELLs
  • How family interviews can help you get the bigger picture
  • What to do when your students are struggling academically
  • Why some kids need RTI and not speech
  • What dynamic assessment is and why it’s effective
  • The best tools for dynamic assessment and language samples


I hope you find this episode inspirational and helpful! Nia has so much knowledge to share on this topic, and I love how she really looks at the bigger picture when working with ELLs so that she can serve them in the best way possible. 

If you want to learn more from Nia, I definitely recommend you follow her on Instagram and check out her TpT store. She has tons of resources for SLPs looking to improve. Everything is linked below!

Have you signed up for the virtual Speech Retreat yet? There’s still time! It’s all happening on July 16th. Check it out and register here to get renewed and refueled with tons of SLP inspiration! 


Dynamic Assessment and More with Nia Thomas


Joke of the Week:

Q: Which fish is the most famous? 

A: The starfish.


Resources Mentioned: 

Visit Nia’s website

Follow Nia on Instagram

Check out The Bilingual Speech Resources TpT store

Leaders Project free CEU

Leaders Project Slam Cards

Sign up for the virtual Speech Retreat


Where We Can Connect: 

Listen on Your Favorite Podcast Platform

Follow to the Podcast

Follow Hallie on Instagram 

Follow Hallie on Facebook

Follow Hallie on Pinterest 


Follow & Review on Apple Podcasts

Are you following the podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to follow today so you don’t miss any future episodes! I already have so many amazing guests and topics lined up, I would hate for you to miss a single one!  Click here to follow on Apple Podcasts.

Could I ask a big favor? If you are loving the podcast, I would LOVE it if you would leave me a review on Apple Podcasts. I read each and every review.  Plus, you get to pay it forward because it will allow other teachers like you to find the podcast! Wondering how to leave a review? Click here to review, then select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review”.  So easy and so appreciated! 


Do you have a question you would like me to answer on the podcast?