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María Rosa Brea-Spahn

Clinical Associate Professor; Director, Bilingual Extension Track

Communicative Sciences and Disorders


María Rosa Brea-Spahn, Ph.D., CCC-SLP (ella, she, her/s), is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders. Dr. Brea-Spahn joined NYU Steinhardt in Fall 2017 as the inaugural Director of the Bilingual Extension Track. She graduated with an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Cognitive Neural Sciences and a minor in Language Science from the University of South Florida’s Department of Psychology. Prior to and while obtaining her doctorate, she practiced as a bilingual, certified Speech-Language Therapist in school-based settings and was employed as a Clinical Instructor responsible for training and supervising graduate students with varying levels of expertise.

Dr. Brea-Spahn is a Dominican immigrant, bilingual communicator (user of Español and English), a critical teacher-scholar whose work has been centered at the intersection of multilingualism and disability. She teaches about and implements culturally responsive and sustaining pedagogical practices in her courses, as these are aligned with her overarching commitments to critical inquiry, reflexive praxis, and the redistribution of power in classroom spaces, in a way that remains representative of her students’ brilliant voices. Her classroom and community collaborations focus on researching the impact of standardized linguistic ideologies in speech-language practices, sustaining variability in languaging in the classroom, and co-envisioning a path for linguistic liberation.

Her dedication to student-centered teaching, social justice activism, and community engagement have received multiple accolades. In 2015, Dr. Brea-Spahn was selected for the University of South Florida's Provost Community Engaged Faculty Award. In 2020, she received the prestigious NYU Martin Luther King, Jr. Faculty Award. She is also the recipient of the 2021 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)'s Certificate of Recognition for Special Contributions in Multicultural Affairs. And in 2022, she received the NYU Steinhardt Teaching Excellence Award.

Selected Publications

  • Brea-Spahn, M.R., & Fabiano, L. (2023). Introduction to the forum: Reflect, reframe and re-imagine SLP. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools.
  • Brea-Spahn, M. R., & Bauler, C. V. (2023). Where do you anchor your beliefs? An invitation to interrogate dominant ideologies of language and languaging in Speech-Language Pathology. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 1-13.
  • Soto-Boykin, X., Brea-Spahn, M. R., Pérez, S., & McKenna, M. (2023). A critical analysis of state-level policies impacting racialized emergent bilinguals suspected or labeled as dis/abled. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 1-17.
  • Nair, V. K., Khamis, R., Ali, S., Aveledo, F., Biedermann, B., Blake, O., Brea-Spahn, M.R.... & Zisk, A. H. (2023). Accent modification as a raciolinguistic ideology: A commentary in response to Burda et al. (2022). Journal of Critical Study of Communication & Disability, 1(1), 105-112.
  • Yu, B., Nair, V. K., Brea, M. R., Soto-Boykin, X., Privette, C., Sun, L., ... & Hyter, Y. D. (2022). Gaps in Framing and Naming: Commentary to “A Viewpoint on Accent Services”. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 31 (4), 1-6.
  • Dunn Davidson, M. D., & Brea-Spahn, M.R. (2022). Literacy in two languages. In B. Goldstein and B. Conboy (Eds.), Bilingual language developments and disorders in Spanish-English speakers (3rd Ed.). Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing.
  • Nair, V.K.K., & Brea-Spahn, M.R. (2021). Reimagining Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Medium. Retrieved from
  • Brea-Spahn, M.R. (2021; January). BLLING: Learning as belonging. ASHA Leader. Retrieved from
  • Brea-Spahn, M.R. (2020). A time of reckoning, a call for change. Medium. Retrieved from
  • Brea-Spahn, M. R., Frisch, S., & Bryant, J. (2020). Wordlikeness and nonword repetition in Spanish-speaking bilingual children. In Li Fangfang, K. Pollock, & R. Gibb, (Eds.), Research in child second language acquisition: Towards an integrated understanding. Amsterdam: John Benjamin Publishing.
  • Brea-Spahn, M.R. (2014). Bilingual Children with Language Learning Disabilities: Convergence in Conceptual, Linguistic, and Cultural Circles of Knowledge. In C. A. Stone, E. R. Silliman, B. J. Ehren, & K. Apel (Eds.), Handbook of language and literacy: Development and disorders (pp. 359-378). (2nd Ed). New York, NY: Guilford.


Communicative Sciences and Disorders

The Communicative Sciences and Disorders Program offers rigorous training for students seeking high-quality education in speech-language pathology.

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Assessment and Intervention for Multilingual Learners in CSD

Integrates foundational information pertaining to bilingual/multilingual aspects of speech and language. Overview of assessment of and evidence-based interventions for multilingual and dual language learners suspected of having oral and written speech/language disabilities. Introduces clinicians to culturally and linguistically responsive assessment/intervention principles and how to access and use resources when working with culturally and linguistically diverse children and adolescents. Fulfills NYS requirements for the Bilingual Extension to TSSLD certificate.
Course #
CSCD-GE 2079
Communicative Sciences and Disorders