Stuttering and Bilingualism in Children and Adults

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Re: Stuttering and Bilingualism

From: rosalee shenker
Date: 13 Oct 2008
Time: 06:28:22 -0500
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Rena, to try to answer at least some of your questions...we generally treat in the linguistically more developed language with a preschool age child. In our clinic we treat in the language of the parent, since the parent is involved with the therapy at home; often, when both parents are providing the treatment at home the therapy is done in two languages. We always 'track' the progress in all languages that the child speaks. I gave some feedback yesturday re linguistic overload and the potential for disrupting fluency in a young child. I don't believe that there is enough research to suggest that bilingualism is a risk factor in early stuttering, even when the child has a history of persistent stuttering...our clinical outcome suggests this as well. To respond to your final question, if a parent were to ask me if they should eliminate a second language I would say that there is no evidence to suggest that they need to. Often parents ask if they should enroll their children in second language learning since that is the common trend here in Quebec, e.g., a child begins to study in French in kindergarten. I generally support their decision. Since a second language is introduced through songs, repetitive and automatic rote activities, and simple vocabulary I do not find it to be problemmatic with most children. I always advise parents to watch their child's development and see how the introduction of the second language affects is rarely a problem in my experience. If a family speak 2 languages at home and always have, I would generally tell them to continue but to try to input one language at a time, without code mixing the two on input. I hope that this clarifies things for you a bit.

Last changed: 10/13/08