The topics in this Multilingualism & Disorders series aim at clarifying the misconceptions that associate multilingualism with disorders.
Each topic offers a brief introduction to common questions, and includes one token reference, which either marks watershed findings or otherwise addresses points which are perhaps less known within research on multilingualism.
This condensed format is deliberate, meant to invite discussion, thoughts, and more queries. Only with your help, as engaged readers, can we make this series the useful tool that we hope it will become.
— Madalena Cruz-Ferreira
What kind of training do speech-language therapists receive with respect to multilingual children?
Speech-language therapy training does not include knowledge of languages other than the language of intervention, or knowledge about multilingualism in general. This is true even where the therapists are themselves multilingual and/or intend to work in multilingual settings. Clinical assessment methods and instruments are also designed and normed for monolingual populations.
In a study which is unfortunately not available to the general public, Joyce Lew and Linda Hand note that involving the whole of a child’s linguistic repertoire in intervention may well be “new territory for speech pathology”. (The study is: Lew, J., & Hand, L. (2009). Speech pathology and bilingual children: Do we think in terms of “two monolingualisms”? Acquiring Knowledge in Speech, Language and Hearing, 11(1), 10-16. The quotation is from page 11.)
Multilingualism is not an addition of monolingualisms, because multilingualism involves the use of different languages for different purposes and with different people. Monolinguals use their single language for all purposes and with all people. This means that the monolingual norms of language use that are so far available to speech-language therapists do not and cannot apply to multilinguals.
Specific reference for the above topic:
- Roseberry-McKibbin, C. (1994). Assessment and intervention for children with limited English proficiency and language disorders. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 3(3), 77-88.
Abstract URL: http://ajslp.asha.org/cgi/content/abstract/3/3/77
Journal URL: http://ajslp.asha.org/
General references relevant to core issues in the Multilingualism & Disorders series.
- Cruz-Ferreira, M. (2010). Multilinguals are …? Battlebridge Publications. Book URL: www.battlebridge.com
- Grosjean, F. (2010). Bilingual. Life and reality. Harvard University Press. Book URL: www.hup.harvard.edu
- Cruz-Ferreira, M. (Ed.). (2010). Multilingual norms. Peter Lang.
Book URL: www.peterlang.com
- Genesee, F., Paradis, J., & Crago, M. (2004). Dual language development and disorders: A handbook on bilingualism and second language learning. Brookes Publishing.
Book URL: www.brookespublishing.com
- Grosjean, F. (2008). Studying bilinguals. Oxford University Press.
Book URL: ukcatalogue.oup.com