The other day I read a post by Nicholas Miller on the Speech and Language Sciences @ Newcastle University blog. He talked about the reprinting of his book, “Bilingualism and Language Disability” in psychology press’ classic revivals series. He reminisced about how the 1984 book came to be in the first place. Read the rest of this entry »
We’re very excited to let everyone know that now, after a number of years of development and testing the BESA is available to speech-language pathologists.
WHAT IS THE BESA? WHAT DOES IT DO?
My co-authors and I developed the Bilingual English Spanish Assessment (BESA) in response to a critical need for valid, reliable instruments to assessment of speech and language ability in Spanish-English bilingual children. It focuses on children (ages 4 years, 0 months through 6 years, 11 months) who have varying levels of Spanish-English bilingualism. BESA was specifically developed to determine if speech and/or language errors observed in some young children were due to limited exposure to English or to a language impairment. We know that with time, children with typical development will learn a second language. But, at the same time, early intervention for children who have speech and language impairment is critical. Read the rest of this entry »
Across both these posts, presentations, chapters and journal articles, I often say that we need to test children in both of their languages. I think that many of us know that. The question however is what do you do with that information once you’ve obtained it. Read the rest of this entry »
Accurate assessment of bilingual children is a challenge for educators including speech-language pathologists all over the world. When children have exposure to more than one language it might be difficult to know if low language and reading scores are due to lack of enough experience in the language tested or if these are indicative of a language impairment or language based reading delay. A number of research groups all over the world have been working on this problem for a number of years. Three years ago I participated in a workshop on bilingualism in Wales. A two-volume book, in part, is the current product of that workshop. For those who buy the pair, currently there is a discount offered. Read the rest of this entry »
An open question in working with bilingual children who have language impairment is the extent to which they make gains in each of their two languages. We can look to children with typical development to document what we should expect through regular schooling and home interactions, and we can also track children with language impairment. We did this through looking at children’s retells in Spanish and English. Children included those with and without language impairment and they were followed from kindergarten to first grade. Read the rest of this entry »
Last month I posted saying I was working on the validity analyses for the Bilingual English Spanish Assessment (BESA) that is hopefully soon to be published and available for clinicians. Today, I’ll tell you a little about the results. As many of you know, a number of years ago we (Vera Gutierrez-Clellen, Aquiles Iglesias, and I) got an NIH contract to explore typical and atypical speech and language development in Spanish-English bilingual children. Brian Goldstein and Lisa Bedore joined our team about a year later. The results of the 7 year project were to have a measure that would identify bilingual children with language impairment and phonological impairment. Read the rest of this entry »
I think the title says it all, and it’s an important question. There’s no doubt that the best way to determine if a child has a language impairment is to test them in their language. For bilinguals, that usually means two languages– in the US context, their home language and English. But, there aren’t enough bilingual speech-language pathologists available nationally; and bilingual speech-language pathologists don’t speak every language represented by the clients in their area. So, one of the questions we’ve had is whether we can get any useful information from testing children who are bilingual in English only. The quick answer is yes, no, and it depends. The longer answer follows. Read the rest of this entry »
We made a BESA fan page: https://www.facebook.com/besabilingual
It’s almost the end of the month and I realize I haven’t posted anything since the 4th. It’s been a month of travel and family celebrations, weddings, major birthdays and so on. But, every morning (or at least most mornings) I’ve been getting up to work on the BESA. We’re inching our way closer to finishing up the chapters. The one I’m working on now is validity. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s the 4th of July, US Independence! So what can I write about that has to do with bilingualism? The US Constitution of course. Did you know that the Constitution was translated to Dutch in 1788? After the Declaration of Indepedence in 1776 and the end of the revolutionary war in 1781, the Constitution was written to establish the form of the US federal government. In order to adopt the Constitution, a majority of states had to approve– or ratify the document. There was a large Dutch population in the state of New York, so in order for the population to understand the language of the Constitution, it was translated to Dutch. This translation is credited for convincing the people of New York to join the US.