A Framework for Speech Sound Intervention in a Bilingual Child The goal of speech sound therapy in bilingual children is as simple as that for monolingual children: to improve speech so that communication is not negatively affected by intelligibility. However, achieving this goal is quite difficult. We are still learning about the impact of language environment on therapy and ... Article
Article  |   July 01, 2005
A Framework for Speech Sound Intervention in a Bilingual Child
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Christina Gildersleeve-Neumann
    Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, Portland State University, Portland, OR
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Articles
Article   |   July 01, 2005
A Framework for Speech Sound Intervention in a Bilingual Child
Perspectives on Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations, July 2005, Vol. 12, 10-13. doi:10.1044/cds12.2.10
Perspectives on Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations, July 2005, Vol. 12, 10-13. doi:10.1044/cds12.2.10
The goal of speech sound therapy in bilingual children is as simple as that for monolingual children: to improve speech so that communication is not negatively affected by intelligibility. However, achieving this goal is quite difficult. We are still learning about the impact of language environment on therapy and whether treatment effects transfer from one language to another. Here are some common questions about bilingual speech therapy, followed by preliminary answers based on existing research.
What do we currently know about typical bilingual speech that may help us understand disorder? Because there are many types of bilinguals, when designing intervention it is important to consider a child's current bilingual category. In the U.S., bilinguals typically speak their home language (L1) and English (L2). Two broad subcategories of bilingualism are simultaneous and sequential. For clinical purposes, simultaneous means substantial exposure to both languages from the onset of language development, while sequential suggests a foundation in L1 is established prior to introduction to L2, typically after age 3 (Patterson & Pearson, 2004). For the purposes of intervention in children, however, I would suggest dividing sequential into two subcategories. Established sequential bilinguals are children who began learning L2 a few years prior to intervention and have likely developed a solid foundation in English. Recent sequential bilinguals are children who received their first intensive exposure to English recently and who are relying heavily on L1 to learn English.
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