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
When should we ask another speech-language therapist for a second opinion?
One tell-tale sign that it is time to seek a second opinion is the recommendation that a multilingual family should stick to one language, where the therapist suspects a language disorder or other disorders.
If monolingualism inhibited or cured disorders, there would be no monolinguals with disorders. Recommending monolingualism assumes that multilingualism affects language disorders and other disorders, a claim for which there is no evidence whatsoever.
Another sign is settling for testing the child in one single language. This is usually the mainstream language of education, and the one that the child may share with the therapist.
Testing one language of a multilingual child gives little information about the child’s overall linguistic ability, because being multilingual means using one’s languages in different ways. Language disorders affect all the languages of a multilingual and have therefore nothing to do with proficiency or test scores in one particular language.
Specific reference for the above topic:
- MacSwan, J., & Rolstad, K. (2006). How language proficiency tests mislead us about ability: Implications for English language learner placement in special education. Teachers College Record, 108(11), 2304-2328.
Article URL: www.public.asu.edu/~macswan/MacSwan&Rolstad2006.pdf
Journal URL: www.tcrecord.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