Speech All the Time

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What is Best Practice for Assessing and Serving Bilingual Children?


Many of us as are being asked to evaluate and provide  speech and language services for Bilingual children and  English Language Learners (ELL). "Where do I begin?" and "What do I need to know?" may be some of the first questions we ask ourselves

Tatyana Elleseff at Smart Speech Therapy LLC has written a wonderful article entitled “Language Differences vs. Language Disorder:  Assessment and Intervention Strategies for SLP’s Working with Bilingual Children”.   I am currently seeing very young children whose family's first language is other than English. These little ones are not developing speech, language or communication skills. Therefore, I was very happy when Tatyana asked me to do a materials swap and product review on my blog. While I am reviewing her article, she is doing a review of my companion packet for “Badger’s Fancy Meal”. 

Whether you are looking for a concise introduction to working with Bilingual students or you need a refresher on Evidence Based Practices in this area, this is an excellent resource. 

The following areas are addressed:

  • types of bilingualism
  • similarities between monolingual and bilingual language acquisition
  • simultaneous dual language learning and language delay
  • outlines of stages of language acquisition in both simultaneous and simultaneous learning; influences on later learning
  • acquisition models
  • academic language and its function
  • BICS (Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills) and CALP (Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency)
  • communication differences vs. disorder; characteristic overlaps
  • what communication disorders affect
  • challenges of assessment
  • identification measures; criteria for selection; limitations of standardized assessments
  • pros and cons of several currently used standardized measures
  • dynamic assessment and its advantages
  • initial referral considerations
  • assessment of phonology, fluency, general language
  • intervention approaches
  • what happens when L1 is eliminated 

Points of interest
  • simultaneous language learning occurs when there are two languages from infancy 
  • dual language acquisition in simultaneous language learning is NEVER equal
  • sequential language learning occurs when the second language acquisition is AFTER the first, typically after 3 years of age
  • timing and sequence of language milestones are similar
  • dual language learning does not cause confusion/delays in young children
  • vocabulary in each language is less, but when combined, it is the same or better
  • communication disorders WILL BE PRESENT IN BOTH LANGUAGES

The point that jumped out at me was “Advising parents of language disordered children to stop speaking  L1 and focus on L2 only is NOT supported by evidence based practice!” This has a significant impact on how we serve very young bilingual children.

This perfect resource is a great investment for $24.95 at her store. Tatyana  is currently reviewing my storybook companion packet for “Badgers Fancy Meal on her BLOG.

Kathy