I haven’t posted for a while, things have been pretty busy finishing up a project and starting another, applying for grant money so that we can pay for proposed projects and so on. But, today I got a message from a bilingual SLP who works in early intervention. She had some concerns about some decisions and procedures being made by the local school district. She was working to do an assessment of a 3-year old child who had approximately 10 words in his or her vocabulary. Now most of us would see this as strong evidence of a language delay or impairment. But, what if the child’s first language is not English?
Well, turns out that this particular district wanted to say that the limited vocabulary was due to English as a second language. How does that even make any sense? By 3 years of age, a child knows a few hundred words. They may know some in the first language, some in the second language, but together they should add up to quite a lot, not 10. By 2 years old, children should be producing AT LEAST 25 words, so 10 is NOT ENOUGH (not even for a 2 year old, let alone 3). Children in early stages of learning another language might not know many words in that language, but they should know sufficient (compared to their age) words in their first language or in their first and second combined.
BUT HERE’S THE FLASHBACK MOMENT….
THIS HAPPENED TO ME AS A CLINICAL FELLOW IN 1985!
30 YEARS AGO!!!!!!!!
okay 31, but 30 is more dramatic.
OMG haven’t we learned anything by now????? We have, but how do we get people, SLPs, administrators, special education directors, etc. to apply that knowledge in a consistent way. How is it that we know that 10 words is not enough vocabulary knowledge for a 3 year old kiddo, but then think that it might be okay if a child is learning a second language? Is it discrimination, stupidity, ignorance, racism? 30 fucking years!
I think probably this isn’t so widespread, but it still happens and it’s so shocking to me that it does at all. Okay, enough ranting. Have a good weekend and push back, these kiddos need services now not later.