Frequently Asked Questions about Bilingualism

Will raising my child in a bilingual environment cause a delay in language development?

No. The bilingual environment will not cause a delay in your child's language development. In fact, bilinguals acquire two phonological systems in the same amount of time that monolinguals acquire one (Fabiano-Smith and Goldstein, 2010a). Furthermore, the research suggests that bilingual phonological development falls within normal limits if compared to monolinguals of the same age when assessed at during the school years (Fabiano-Smith and Goldstein, 2010a).  During development, a child learning two languages needs to have strong inputs of each language, but the bilingual environment will not cause a delay. 

If my child has a language disorder, should we only speak to the child in one language?

No. It is important that the child receives strong language cues in each language during development. Limiting the child's language input may hinder the child's development of either language. Continue to speak to your child in the home language, and allow the child to experience the language of the classroom at school. Due to your child's language disorder, your child may need additional services to acquire language. Nevertheless, continue to speak to your child in both languages and continue to provide your child with strong models in each language.

My child is bilingual, what language should he be evaluated in? What language should he be treated in?

If your child is bilingual, the evaluation should assess and consider both languages. The clinician will evaluate each language in the areas of receptive and expressive language skills, and speech sounds. 

The language of treatment will depend on your child's formal evaluation. If your child presents with speech sound errors in both languages, the therapy will be provided in just one language, especially, if the speech sound error is shared between the two languages. Research suggests articulation improvement in one language can transfer to the untreated language (Holm & Dodd, 1999).  Although, if the speech sound error is unique to one language, treatment will be in that particular language. If your child presents with a language disorder or delay, therapy will be provided in your child’s dominant, or most proficient, language. If your child is equally proficient in both languages, therapy will be provided in both languages. As with any treatment approach, our company strives to provide language therapy that will ultimately meet your child’s individualized needs.

References:

  • Fabiano-Smith, L. & Goldstein, B.A. (2010). Phonological acquisition in bilingual Spanish-English speaking children. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 53, 160-178.
  • Holm, A., Dodd, B., Stow, C., & Pert, S. (1999). Identification and differential diagnosis of phonological disorder in bilingual children. Language Testing, 16, 271-292.

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Austin, TX 78746

Map North Austin
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Austin, TX 78759

Phone: (512) 327-6179
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