Archive for November, 2010
In our role as speech language pathologists, we often rely on reports from teachers and from parents to inform our clinical decisions. When the child is bilingual, in addition to the usual questions about development, language milestones, and language use/demands, we need to find out what language(s) is used and when. Part of our training is to learn to incorporate this information into our clinical decisions. We learn that parents know their child best, they are with them the most. Teachers also develop unique insights to the children in their classroom and they see them every day. SLPs usually only get a couple of hours at most in which to make these decisions and so must rely on information we get from parents and teachers. At the same time though, sometimes this information is suspect. I’m not sure why. Most studies comparing parent and professional observations of milestones such as language show that parents are very accurate. But, they aren’t quite as accurate in recalling developmental information and are less accurate over time. Studies of bilingual children show that parents can accurately make judgements about language ability and language dominance.
I’m often asked my opinion whether or not young bilingual children have language delays or impairment. How can we tell impairment and normal bilingualism apart. And what about language use for these kids? Should parents use more than one language– especially if they have language delays or language impairment?
It’s international education week this week. In celebration, Lisa Bedore and I have been invited to author a series of guest posts over on Mommy Maestra. Check out the introductory post on bilingualism and language delay.
This article in the El Paso Times along with the post in language log on word gaps by SES brought to mind arguments about teaching English as a second language and the assumption that more is better. In bilingual education, there is ample evidence that children who learn in dual language environments can and do “catch up” to their monolingual peers on measures of language. Yet, well-meaning school personnel persist in telling parents to switch to English because that will help children learn English better. It doesn’t. Read the rest of this entry »