Candace Banks is a graduate student at Louisiana State University in communication sciences and disorders. She is specifically interested in language acquisition and development in children with African American Vernacular English as their primary language, how it operates as a distinct language, and what methods can be used to identify whether true developmental deficits are present in a child or whether they are developing normally but differently due to their language, dialect, background, or socioeconomic standing.
Candace aims to work in the school system to prevent the misdiagnosis of speech disorders due to racial or ethnic background, and treat preschool and elementary school students with speech disorders, and plans to eventually establish a community outreach center that will provide mental health, speech disorder, literacy, and cultural enrichment services.
Candace comes from a fundamentalist Church of Christ background that was very strict and dogmatic. She says that she grew up an anxious person and was always on edge because any move she made would be in disobedience to her father and god. Every decision she made was one that had to be evaluated and reevaluated, then prayed upon by the entire family and sometimes the entire church.
Even when she moved four hours away to a special school, she could not escape the church; when she did not attend services, her family was called, and the consequences of her so-called delinquency would range from a verbal lashing to withdrawal of financial support, to threats of making her move back home. However, being at this school allowed her to meet students of different faith and non-faith backgrounds, including some atheists, who were not nearly as menacing as she had been taught to believe.