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can my child be bilingual with a language delay

Can My Child be Bilingual with a Language Delay?

In a time where speaking more than one language is becoming increasingly common, the topic of being bilingualCan My Child be Bilingual with a Language Delay? (speaking more than one language) and having a language delay arises. How does having a language delay affect the acquisition and use of a second language? What if your child is a native speaker of both languages? If your child has a language delay, should they be exposed to a second language?

Sometimes children speak two languages when they are exposed to one language at home and a different language at school or daycare. Other children speak two languages because their parents have chosen to expose them to a second language (e.g. an immersion program). Further, there are different terms for these types of acquisitions. Simultaneous acquisition occurs when children acquire two languages before the age of 3, and sequential acquisition occurs when children acquire a second language after their first language is established (Lowry).

How Does a Language Delay Affect Learning a Second Language?

But what if your child has a language delay? How does this affect their languages? In the case of simultaneous acquisition, children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) have no more difficulty learning two languages than children with SLI who are learning only one language (Paradis 2003, Gutierrez 2008). (SLI occurs when children have difficulties with language but no co-occurring developmental difficulties or medical diagnoses.)

In the case of sequential acquisition, if your child already has a language delay, you may be hesitant to expose your child to a second language. However, although these children do face language-learning difficulties, they are not at a greater disadvantage than a monolingual child with the same language difficulties (Lowry).

These conclusions seem promising for those wanting to learn multiple languages, but according to research done by Paradis, Genesee, and Crago (2011) (referred to herein as “the study”), children with SLI may continue to have language difficulties in their second language even after years of exposure. The study was conducted with Turkish speaking children learning Dutch, and showed that the children with SLI learning a second language continued to lag behind their monolingual peers with SLI. It has been suggested that the continued struggles were a result of the children coming from low socioeconomic and disadvantaged minority groups; however, this has not been proven (Paradis 2010).  Given the varying conclusions of existing scientific research, it is important to make as informed of a choice as possible by looking at all the factors applicable to your child. No matter what you decide, be sure to support your child’s language(s) in all environments to foster growth.

Seek the help of a speech and language pathologist if think your child has difficulties with language.

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NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

References: 

  1. Paradis, J., Crago, M., Genesee F., & Rice, M. (2003). Bilingual children with specific language impairment: How do they compare with their monolingual peers? Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 46, 1-15.
  2. Gutierrez-Clellen, V., Simon-Cereijido, G, & Wagner, C. (2008). Bilingual children with language impairment: A comparison with monolinguals and second language learners. Applied Linguistics, 29, 3-20.
  3. Lowry, Lauren. Can children with language impairments learn two languages? Retrieved from http://www.hanen.org/helpful-info/articles/can-children-with-language-impairments-learn-two-l.aspx
  4. Paradis, J., Genesee, F., and Crago, M. (2011). Dual language development and disorders: A handbook on bilingualism and second language learning. Baltimore, Maryland: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.
  5. Paradis, J. (2010). The interface between bilingual development and specific language impairment. Applied Psycholinguistics, 31, 227-252.

 

toddler talking

Tips to Get Your Toddler Talking

Babies and toddlers go through extremely rapid language development in their first two years. Children explore and learn all the silly sounds they can make (vocal play) and begin to grasp that sounds can have meaning. Children quickly understand how to make their wants and needs known, but there are several tips that parents can utilize to help support and encourage language development.

Tips to Get Your Toddler Talking:

  1. Communicative Temptation: Using communicative temptation principles, try setting up environments andGet Your Toddler Talking with These Tips situations to foster and encourage language use, specifically via verbal expression or gesturing. Holding desired objects or placing them out of a child’s reach encourages children to communicate with caregivers in order to make wants/needs known and met. Once children attempt to communicate, be it verbally or through gestures, praise the child and reward them with the desired object.
  2. Play: Follow children’s lead for play. Allow them to engage with you during activities, their added interest in play will often foster language acquisition more naturally.
  3. Model: When a child is acquiring expressive language, parents should be modeling their own speech for their child to imitate. Frequently labeling common objects – such as favorite foods, toys, and family member names – throughout the day, will encourage imitation.
  4. Create verbal rituals: Creating situations where a child comes to expect language can encourage his participation in rituals. For example, saying “hi” to each toy animal as you take it out of the box, or even singing the same song every night at bed time. Pausing during songs and allowing children to finish (e.g., “the wheels on the bus go ____”) can help support and increase language.
  5. Label: Repeatedly label the actions/objects a child desires throughout his day. For example, if a child demonstrates that he wants to be picked up through gesturing, while picking him up say “up” and encourage imitation.
  6. Narrate: Narrate activities that are going on around the child, to provide a language-rich environment. This may include listing off grocery items as parents put them in the cart, or explaining what the dog is doing (e.g., “oh, Mario is wagging his tail!). Parents may also describe their own activities (e.g., making lunch, going for a walk, etc.).
  7. Appropriate Complexity: Talk at or just above the child’s language level. Allowing children to hear language that is age-appropriate will encourage understanding and encoding. Using language that is too complex can cause confusion or misunderstandings in babies and toddlers.
  8. Gesture: Gesturing can be a great way to promote social development. Gestures are intentional communication, and parents can use gestures to encourage socialization and verbalization. Try pairing a wave with expressing “hi” or “bye!”
  9. Clarification of Speech: Focus on what toddler is saying not how clearly she is saying it. Allow children to make verbal attempts, even if caregivers can only understand 50-75% of what is being said. Parents can model appropriate speech clarity, but children should be praised for making attempts at this age – remember is it still cute when they are little!
  10. Auditory Bombardment: When targeting vocabulary, create a “language sandwich” for your children. This includes identifying a new word, using it in a sentence, then repeating the word again! For example, “dog, the dog is barking, dog!” Bombarding children with novel words allows them more exposure to new words, and it also helps with carryover and usage.

The tips above represent ideas that can help encourage language development. Should parents have specific questions about their child’s language acquisition, a licensed speech-language pathologist can help!


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NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

 

What is Auditory Processing?

What is Auditory Processing?

The term “auditory processing” has experienced an increase in attention over the past several years, as awareness has been raised for the diagnosis of auditory processing disorder (APD). With the rise in awareness for this disorder, it is important to fully understand the components of auditory processing to avoid confusion and misdiagnosis.

Auditory Processing refers to how the central nervous system uses auditory information. WhenWhat is Auditory Processing? processing auditory information there are several steps that take place. First, the listener needs to remember and organize the information that was presented to them. Once that information has been retained, the listener must discriminate between the received signals – listening for the differences in the speech. This step will help the listener determine what speech-sounds were produced and with what intonation/prosody (i.e., discriminating a question from a statement). The auditory information is then sequenced and conceptualized (i.e., meaning is applied to what was heard). Lastly, the auditory signal that has been processed is synthesized to receive the “main idea” of what was said.

The Components of Auditory Processing:

The components of auditory processing are intricate and complex. It is clear that if one skill set is weak, that will ultimately affect that person’s ability to correctly understand spoken information. It is important to recognize that an auditory processing disorder (APD) is not a result of a higher cognitive or language disorder, but is an auditory deficit. There are other disorders that can also affect a person’s ability to accurately understand auditory information. For example, a child with ADHD will have difficulty accurately following and understanding verbal information – however this is due to an attentional deficit, rather than his or her ability to process information. Likewise, a child with autism spectrum disorder will also have difficulty comprehending spoken language, however, again this is due to a high-order language deficit. It is possible for APD to co-exist with another disorder, however, careful diagnosis by a certified audiologist is necessary for an accurate diagnosis.

See below for a list of behaviors that are common for children to exhibit who experience difficulties with auditory processing.

Red Flags for Children with APD:

  • Difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments.
  • Inability to consistently and accurately follow directions.
  • Difficulty discriminating similar-sounding speech sounds (i.e., /b/ versus /p/).
  • Frequently asking for repetition or clarification.
  • Poor performance with spelling or understanding information verbally presented.
  • Child typically performs better on tasks that don’t rely on listening.


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NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!
Resource: Bellis, Teri James. Understanding Auditory Processing Disorders in Children. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Retrieved from http://www.asha.org.

 

How to Explain a Language Disorder to a Teacher

Of all the categories available under IDEA law, language impairments are often one of the most difficult to understand. It is not a surface level issue and is often lost in the shuffle. Explaining what a language disorder is and how it will impact your child to a teacher can be tricky. Here are some tips.

How to Explain a Language Disorder to a Teacher:

  1. Language disorders come in a wide variety of cases. Each child will present differently and as an advocate, you need to do your best to describe your child’s needs specifically. Language disorders can impact a child’s ability to verbally express themselves efficiently, effectively and with appropriate grammar. It can result in difficulty understanding sentences, following directions, asking/answering questions or in a number of other impairments.
  2. Enlist the school Speech Language Pathologist. Ask for help in explaining the disorder to the teacher and ask for ideas. Discuss options for adjustments and supports for your child like a visual schedule, repetitions of the directions or having him repeat the direction back to the teacher to ensure comprehension. Many school districts or state programs have materials and resources that can educate teachers on strategies to ensure better classroom learning.
  3. Remind the teacher to notice how your child interacts socially. Teachers will be able to identify a child that is isolating themselves from peers secondary to trouble communicating with them.
  4. Discuss the difference between listening, understanding and attending. One of the biggest complaints of teachers will be “He’s not listening to me!” As often as not, your child does not understand the direction provided and is not complying simply because he does not know what is required of him. It can be very frustrating to have difficulty communicating effectively and patience will go a long way.
  5. Know your child’s IEP or 504 plan and take the opportunity to discuss it with the teacher. Be specific about the types of services and accommodations he will receive and what they will look like in the classroom.

Remember, be proactive and provide as much information up front about your child and his diagnosis to avoid potential difficulties. Refer to this page from the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities for 8 Tips for Teachers who have students with speech and language issues in the classroom.

Helping Your Child with Word Finding Difficulties

We’ve all had that feeling where our word or thought is on “the tip of the tongue.”  However, when this is recurring and interrupts communication with your child, then it becomes a problem.  Word finding difficulties (also called “word retrieval difficulties”) are not a vocabulary disorder.  Your child understands the definition of the word(s) and has used them before.  Word finding difficulties are the result of difficulties accessing the vocabulary they already have in their repertoire.  Imagine that your child’s vocabulary is like a library.  All the books are there, but your child just may not know where or how to get them.  Word finding difficulties are common in children with ADHD, learning disorders, and language disorders.

Common Signs of Word Finding Difficulty:

  • Using many filler words in place of specific vocabulary: “Where’s my, ah, um, my, um, you know….my backpack?”
  • Whole word/phrase repetition: “Do you know where, where, where my…. backpack is?”
  • Delayed responses: “Where’s my……………..backpack?”
  • Nonspecific language: “It’s on the thing.”

Strategies and Activities to Help Your Child:

  • Give your child time: It is easy to interrupt and fill in your child’s language during moments of word finding.  However, it is important to avoid this and give your child time to think about what he/she wants to say, and independently utilize word finding strategies.
  • Discuss attributes:  ‘Attributes’ are the common features that describe vocabulary – category, function, location, parts, and physical descriptions such as color, shape, and size.  During moments of word finding, encourage your child to describe the common attributes. For example, if your child cannot recall the word “cow,” he/she can provide attributes such as “it’s a big animal that lives on a farm, says moo, and gives us milk.”  As a communication partner, you can prompt your child by saying, “Tell me what it looks like; tell me where you find it.”
  • Sound/Letter cues:  Sometimes providing the initial letter or sound is as helpful to the child as providing the entire word.  As a communication partner, if you know the word your child is thinking of, use this strategy.  When you are unsure, encourage your child to give you the first letter or sound.
  • Word finding games: Word finding games such as Scattergories, Last Word, and Outburst are great games that target word finding skills.  If your child is having word finding difficulties, encourage him/her to use strategies such as identifying the category or function, describing what it looks like, or drawing a picture.

Feel free to share any of your word finding strategies below.  If you think your child has word finding difficulties, contact North Shore Pediatric Therapy and set up a speech-language evaluation.

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Neuropsychology Posts

what to expect in a neuropsychological exam

Neuropsychological testing for kids at NSPT

what to expect in a neuropsychological exam

A child receives a referral for neuropsychological testing when there are concerns about one or more areas of development. Certainly, these areas of concern can include cognition, academics, attention, memory, language, socialization, emotional regulation, behavioral concerns, motor difficulties, visual-spatial, and adaptive functioning. Testing can identify your child’s learning style and cognitive strengths. Lastly, through testing, our neuropsychologists can recommend accommodations to implement at school and at home.

What is a neuropsychological evaluation?

A neuropsychological evaluation aids the psychologist in determining a diagnosis.
Such as:

How do I know if my child needs a pediatric neuropsychological evaluation?

An evaluation is usually recommended if your child has a medical condition such as Down syndrome, epilepsy, or a traumatic brain injury (TBI). So, the goal of the evaluation is to identify your child’s strengths and weaknesses. With this information, we can provide the right treatment recommendations, determine progress and response to intervention, and monitor functioning.

After your pediatrician has made a referral for a neuropsychological evaluation, you need to schedule an intake appointment. Typically, each intake appointment is one hour long.

Is my child eligible for testing at NSPT’s neuropsychological testing center?

Due to our growing team, we are able to test a larger population. Most noteworthy, we offer three types of testing services:

      1. Early Childhood Developmental Assessment
        This is a multidisciplinary approach where our team works with a speech therapist and occupation therapist to assess children ages 15 months to 3 years, 11 months with developmental concerns ranging from socialization, language, and motor development. Each of the 3 scheduled testing appointments are typically on separate days.
      2. Neuropsychological Evaluation
        NSPT’s standard neuropsychological evaluation for individuals ages 4 through college-age.
      3. Adult ADHD assessment
        This is a new service we are now offering to adults who are interested in an ADHD evaluation. Typically, this is a one-day, 4-hour evaluation.

What should I expect during the neuropsychological intake?

  • Your first appointment is centered around talking with the psychologist about your areas of concern. Therefore, you will be asked to do the following:
    • Provide information about your child’s history.
    • Including medical, developmental, academic, attention, behavior, motor, and social history.
    • Inform the psychologist of any current, or past, services your child receives, such as:
      • speech-language therapy
      • occupational therapy
      • physical therapy
      • individual therapy
      • academic tutoring

What to bring to the neuropsychological intake:

  • You and your child
  • Completed intake paperwork
  • Similarly, any prior psychological/neuropsychological evaluation (if applicable)
  • Your child’s most recent 504 Plan or IEP (if applicable)
  • Additionally, any recent private intervention evaluation (e.g., speech-language therapy, occupational therapy)
  • Certainly, don’t forget your child’s most recent report card or standardized exam scores
  • Finally, any relevant medical information (e.g., EEG report, CT/MRI scan report)

Lastly, after the intake, you will schedule the testing session for your child.  Most of the time, testing is completed in one day (5 hours of testing). Occasionally, the testing will be completed over two days.  The psychologist will create a neuropsychological battery based on the areas of concern. However, the battery is subject to adjustment on the day of testing.  Typically, this occurs if another area of concern arises during the testing session.

To sum up, a pediatric neuropsychological evaluation can also help to determine any appropriate therapies such as speech or Applied Behavior Analysis. For more FAQ, click here

 

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonDeerfieldLincolnwoodGlenviewLake BluffDes Plaines and Mequon! If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (866) 815-6592 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates!

 

Reasons to Seek a Neuropsychological Evaluation for Your Child

Neuropsychology is a field of psychology that focuses on the relationship between learning, behavior, and brain functioning. A child may be referred for a Blog-Neuropsychological-Evaluation-Main-Landscapeneuropsychological evaluation when there are concerns about one or more areas of their development. This can include a child’s cognitive, academic, memory, language, social, self-regulatory, emotional, behavioral, motor, visual-spatial, and adaptive functioning.

This type of evaluation can help rule out diagnoses such as Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Specific Learning Disorder, Language Disorder, as well as various emotional and behavioral disorders. A neuropsychological evaluation can also be helpful if your child has been diagnosed with a medical condition such as Down Syndrome or other genetic disorders, Traumatic Brain Injury, or Epilepsy. The purpose of the evaluation is to identify a child’s patterns of strengths and challenges in order to provide parents, schools, and other providers with strategies to help them succeed across contexts. It can also be used to track a child’s progress and response to targeted interventions.

In order to assess whether a neuropsychological evaluation may be helpful for a child, a family may identify concerns in the following areas:

  • Cognitive
    • Difficulties with verbal and nonverbal reasoning and problem solving
    • Requiring a significant amount of repetition and/or additional time when learning
    • Delays in adaptive functioning
  • Academic
    • Grades below peers
    • Concerns with reading (phonetic development, fluency, comprehension), mathematics (calculation, word problems), or writing (spelling, content, organization)
    • Needing additional time to complete schoolwork, homework, or tests
    • Frustration with academic work
  • Language
    • Expressive (output of language) or receptive (understanding of language) difficulties
    • Challenges initiating or maintaining a conversation
    • Difficulties with sarcasm or non-literal language (e.g, “It’s raining cats and dogs”)
    • Repetitive or odd language usage (e.g., repeating lengthy scripts heard from television or news programs)
    • Pronoun reversals or odd use of language
  • Self-Regulation
    • Difficulty paying attention or sitting still
    • Needing frequent prompts or reminders to complete tasks
    • Difficulty with multiple-step commands
    • Losing or misplacing items
    • Forgetting to turn in completed assignments
  • Social
    • Poor peer relations
    • Inappropriate response when approached by peers
    • Difficulty with imaginative, functional, or reciprocal play
    • Limited interest in peers or preference for solitary play
  • Repetitive Behaviors
    • Repetitive vocalizations
    • Repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., hand flapping, finger flicking, body rocking)
    • Lining up toys, spinning wheels of cars, sorting objects for prolonged periods of time
  • Behavioral Dysregulation
    • Physical or verbal aggression
    • Defiance or non-compliance
    • Difficulties with transitions or changes in routine
    • Self-injury (e.g., head banging)
  • Emotional
    • Poor frustration tolerance
    • Irritability or easily upset
    • Eating or sleeping difficulties
    • Somatic complaints
    • Negative self-statements
    • Lack of interest in things he/she used to enjoy
  • Visual-Spatial, Visual-Motor, and Motor
    • Poor handwriting
    • Trouble with fine motor tasks (e.g., unwrapping small items, buttoning or zipping clothing, tying shoe laces)
    • Difficulty transferring information from the classroom board to a notepad, or transferring information from a test booklet to a scantron/bubble sheet
    • Difficulty with overwhelming visual displays (e.g., computer screen with several icons; homework with several problems on one sheet; a book with several colors and pictures)

Should a child demonstrate difficulties in some of the areas listed above, he/she may benefit from further consultation or a subsequent neuropsychological evaluation. Through this process, areas of difficulty can be identified, and targeted interventions will be suggested to enhance a child’s development.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview, Lake Bluff and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!