Raising children bilingually
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Submission date: 2014-12-19
Final revision date: 2015-03-15
Acceptance date: 2015-03-15
Online publication date: 2015-06-22
Publication date: 2015-06-22
Health Psychology Report 2015;3(3):260–268
The purpose of this article is to describe the process of becoming bilingual by sharing my own experience being raised in a four-language environment and how it influenced the upbringing of my daughter in two, and subsequently three languages. The other purpose is to dispel the myth that children with language, developmental and/or intellectual impairments or those diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum cannot or should not be exposed to two languages because it is confusing, or because they simply cannot handle two languages due to their disability. As a bilingual speech and language pathologist (SLP) who has practiced in the United States for four decades, I have unfortunately witnessed that many teachers as well as other well-meaning professionals including psychologists, therapists and even physicians discourage these children’s parents from using their first language because it might be confusing or too difficult for the child to handle. A review of recent research on children with special needs who have a variety of language, learning and communication challenges contradicts this view. The information presented should be helpful not only to parents but also to various professionals including therapists and physicians who come into contact with children with special needs who are growing up in a bilingual environment.
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