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Early Literacy and Bilingual Language Development
November 1, 2022 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Although multilingualism is the norm in many parts of the world, erroneous information and myths about multilingualism abound. Given that almost one quarter of children in the U.S. speak a language other than English in the home, early childhood professionals, including educators and pediatricians, are very likely to encounter children who are multi-language learners. Nevertheless, multilingualism is generally not part of the curriculum in most training programs. As a result, many professionals that work with young children lack information about typical multilingual language development, essential in order to identify disorders and avoid both overdiagnoses and underdiagnoses, and therefore do not feel comfortable advising families about dual language learning or identifying multilingual children with language delays and disorders.
This presentation will review multilingual language development, answer common questions that parents and providers have on this topic, and highlight the importance of sociolinguistic pride for multilingual children growing up in the United States. This topic is ultimately about equity–promoting optimal development for all children, removing ill-conceived barriers to relational health (e.g. parent being told to speak in English with their baby instead of using home language), identifying children who may have a language delay, and advocating that all stakeholders (parents, doctors, teachers, policymakers) have the most up to date information to be able to provide the best care for multilingual children.