Access to opportunities for bilingualism for individuals with developmental disabilities : key informant interviews

Scherba de Valenzuela, Julia and Kay-Raining Bird, Elizabeth and Parkington, Karisa and Mirenda, Pat and Cain, Kate and MacLeod, Andrea and Segers, Eliane (2016) Access to opportunities for bilingualism for individuals with developmental disabilities : key informant interviews. Journal of Communication Disorders, 63. pp. 32-46. ISSN 0021-9924

[thumbnail of de_Valenzuela_et_al_2016]
PDF (de_Valenzuela_et_al_2016)
de_Valenzuela_et_al_2016.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs.

Download (326kB)


The purpose of this article is to describe the results of a thematic analysis of 79 semi-structured interviews collected at six research sites in four countries in relation to the inclusion and exclusion of students with developmental disabilities (DD) in and from special education and bilingual opportunities. The participants were individuals with expertise either in special needs and/or language education to support bilingualism (e.g., second language (L2) instruction), who served as key informants about service delivery and/or policy in these areas. Six themes emerged as salient during the analysis: we include all kids, special needs drives it, time/scheduling conflicts, IEP/IPP/statement drives it, it’s up to the parents, and service availability. The results suggested that access to language programs and services is limited for children with DD, even though participants at all sites reported adherence to a philosophy of inclusion. A priority on special education services over language services was identified, as well as barriers to providing children with DD access to programs and services to support bilingual development. Some of these barriers included time and scheduling conflicts and limited service availability. Additionally, the role of parents in decision making was affirmed, although, in contrast to special education services, decision-making about participation or exemption from language programs was typically left up to the parents. Overall, the results suggest a need for greater attention to providing supports for both first (L1) and L2 language development for bilingual children with DD and greater access to available language programs.

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.2016.05.005
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? bilingualismdevelopmental disabilitiesinclusionenglish language learnersenglish as a second languagebilingual educationlpn and lvnlinguistics and languagecognitive neuroscienceexperimental and cognitive psychologyspeech and hearing ??
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
03 Nov 2016 08:54
Last Modified:
31 Dec 2023 00:45