Professional practices and opinions about services available to bilingual children with developmental disabilities:an international study

Marinova-Todd, Stefka H. and Colozzo, Paola and Mirenda, Pat and Stahl, Hillary and Kay-Raining Bird, Elizabeth and Parkington, Karisa and Cain, Katherine Elizabeth and Scherba de Valenzuela, Julia and Segers, Eliane and MacLeod, Andrea A. N. and Genesee, Fred (2016) Professional practices and opinions about services available to bilingual children with developmental disabilities:an international study. Journal of Communication Disorders, 63. pp. 47-62. ISSN 0021-9924

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This study aimed to gather information from school- and clinic-based professionals about their practices and opinions pertaining to the provision of bilingual supports to students with developmental disabilities. Using an online survey, data were collected in six socio-culturally and linguistically diverse locations across four countries: the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. In total, 361 surveys were included in the analysis from respondents who were primarily teachers and speech-language pathologists working in schools, daycares/preschools, or community-based clinics. The overall picture that emerged from the data reflected a disconnection between practice and opinion. In general, respondents believed that children with both mild and severe disabilities are capable of learning a second language, although their opinions were more neutral for the latter group. However, children with both mild and severe disabilities who spoke only a minority language at home had less access to services for second language learners than did their typically developing peers, although respondents agreed that such services should be more available. Regardless of clinical group, children who lived in homes where a minority language was spoken were often exposed to, assessed in, and treated in the majority language only; again, respondents generally disagreed with these practices. Finally, second language classes were less available to children in the two disability groups compared to typically developing bilingual children, with general agreement that the opportunity to acquire a second language should be more available, especially to those with mild disabilities. Although the results indicate that there is a considerable gap between current practices and professional opinions, professionals appear to be more supportive of bilingual educational opportunities for these populations than was suggested by previous research.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Communication Disorders
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Communication Disorders. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Communication Disorders, 63, 2016 DOI: 10.1016/j.jcomdis.2016.05.004
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Deposited On:
10 May 2016 08:06
Last Modified:
29 Sep 2023 01:35