Compiled below are some common myths and facts about bilingualism/second language acquisition and communication disorders:
MYTH: A student’s bilingual background caused the speech or language disorder
FACT: This is completely false. This myth has also been stated as students with communication disorders should not learn a new language because it will confuse them. Research has shown that children with disorders ranging from ID to significant developmental disorders have no more difficulty acquiring two languages than their counterparts learning just one (Paul, 2007, p. 190).
MYTH: An ELL student’s parent/caregiver, should only speak to them in English
FACT: This is completely false. Parents/caregivers should interact and speak to their child in the language they find most comfortable. They are encouraged to read, tell stories, and engage in pretend play in their native language to facilitate an optimal language model. Research shows that “it is the quality of the language input that makes the difference in development, not the particular language spoken” (Paul, 2007, p. 190).
FACT: If there is a deficit in the native language, it will most likely affect the acquisition of the second language. It is important to note that normal acquisition in the first language that does not transfer to the second language could be due to premature development of the skills in the second language (Paul, 2007, p. 190).
reference: Paul, R. (2007). Language disorders from infancy through adolescences: assessment & intervention (3rd ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby Elsevier.