Identifying language difference versus disorder in bilingual children

Hemsley, Gayle, Holm, Alison and Dodd, Barbara (2014) Identifying language difference versus disorder in bilingual children. Speech, Language and Hearing, 17 2: 101-115. doi:10.1179/2050572813Y.0000000027

Author Hemsley, Gayle
Holm, Alison
Dodd, Barbara
Title Identifying language difference versus disorder in bilingual children
Journal name Speech, Language and Hearing   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 2050-5728
Publication date 2014-06-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1179/2050572813Y.0000000027
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 17
Issue 2
Start page 101
End page 115
Total pages 15
Place of publication Abingdon, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Speech-language pathologists are frequently required to assess culturally and linguistically diverse children. Achieving culturally sensitive, valid, and clinically feasible assessment of children in this population can be challenging. Several assessment options are available; however, the literature lacks discussion around clinical reasoning and differential diagnosis using a combination of these options. This paper examines the use of a number of assessment techniques in combination for differentiating language difference from language disorder in early sequential bilingual children. In two cases, valid differential diagnosis is achieved by obtaining comprehensive information on each child's language learning context, then applying a range of culturally sensitive assessment techniques: peer-child comparison, composite scoring, and dynamic assessment. Two essential standards for evaluating bilingual language development are presented. First, formal tests used in isolation are insufficient for diagnosing specific language impairment in bilingual children: the use of alternative techniques is crucial. Second, diagnosis requires the implementation of a range of alternative assessment techniques. No single methodology provides a definitive conclusion of difference versus disorder. A range of assessments considered together, however, provide a strong body of evidence outlining a child's language abilities in their unique cultural context.
Keyword Assessment
Language impairment
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: UQ Centre for Clinical Research Publications
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