Posts Tagged BESA
This week I’ve been working on the background section for the BESA (cautiously moving toward publication, we’ll announce it when we have a publisher). I’m amazed at what we knew (or didn’t) when we first proposed the project. We wrote up the project proposal summarizing probably everything we knew about bilingual language impairment. At that time, most of the available reports were small n studies and case studies including those by Raquel Anderson. This gave us some indicators of what might be areas of difficulty for bilinguals with language impairment. We also looked to the then emerging crosslinguistic literature on language impairment. Most of this was based on work by Larry Leonard and colleagues.
Some of the work with bilinguals was on the errors that typical children made which overlapped with those made by monolingual English speakers with language impairment. So, we knew we needed to try to look for common errors and to compare children by level of language exposure. We were greatly influenced here by Valdes and Figueroa.
We didn’t know whether bilinguals with language impairment would look like monolinguals with language impairment or not. The answer is they do and they don’t. Language of exposure matters and the amount of exposure matters as well. It’s exciting to see how much more is known in the field and it’s great to see convergence of our findings and that in other labs including work by Kathy Kohnert and work by Laida Restrepo. We’re also starting to see convergence with other language pairs as well.
We continue to make progress, although sometimes it seems very little, but when I look back to where we started, I do see that we know a lot more.
I’ve been meaning to post on a new(ish) paper we recently published in JSLHR on semantic deficits in bilingual children with language impairment. I will write about that, but what’s been on my mind is the issue of understanding children’s performance relative to their language experiences. In making diagnostic decisions about bilingual children who may have language impairment, we need to filter or interpret language performance through what it is we know about their age and experiences. For monolinguals age alone is usually a good index for linguistic experience. We expect that at certain ages, children will have had similar linguistic experiences. Thus, we can make predictions about what kinds of words, relationships among words, and number of words children should know by certain ages. For bilinguals, it’s not nearly as straightforward. Read the rest of this entry »
Over the last few days I’ve gotten a number of questions about how to distinguish between language impairment and normal development in bilingual children probably due to the feature story on the UT Home page last week. It’s been great to hear from bilingual speech pathologists from around Texas and other areas of the country. I think that many are struggling to deal with the same questions that I’ve been pursuing with my colleagues. That is, how do we know what disorder looks like in bilinguals; and what can we do to document these distinctions? Read the rest of this entry »
We have a fairly new article accepted for publication in the International Journal of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education. Even though it’s not yet published it’s available through the Journal’s forthcoming articles list.
As part of an NIH funded project, we screened about 750 children (actually we now have screened 1200 kiddos, but when we wrote the article were still in the process of screening so the analysis is based on the numbers to that point–still it’s a lot of kids). We developed a screener based on the Bilingual English Spanish Assessment that we’d previously worked on. The screener is called the Bilingual English Spanish Oral Screening (get it? get it??). It takes about 15-20 minutes to give in both languages (compared to the full version of the test this is about 1/4 of the time). The BESOS includes morphosyntax and semantics sections. If you want to know more about the development of the BESA (from which the BESOS is derived see here and here for morphosyntax; and here for semantics. (And yes, the BESA (but not the screener) includes phonology and pragmatics).
Anyway, in this study we gave the screener to all the kids regardless of whether they thought they didn’t know English or Spanish. Children were preschool and kindergarten age (between 4;6 and 5;6). We did stop testing a subsection if they gave us no response to 5 items in a row (we’re not totally cruel, it’s just that sometimes kids know more than they think– more than their parents and teachers think too!). We were interested in seeing what factors were associated with knowing something, anything in a language. We also wanted to know what factors were associated with higher scores. Read the rest of this entry »