Bilingualism and Special Needs

by Millie Slavidou

Anyone with a child being brought up in a bilingual home tends to learn early on that they need to grow a thick skin. There will be comments about their child’s development, about being behind at skill, about how useful the minority language will be, and even from professionals, such as teachers, there is frequently a lot of negativity.

So imagine how much worse all of this can be when the child in the bilingual environment has special needs. Even without the bilingual element, when a child has special needs, the parents are suddenly surrounded by experts, from the person on the street or in the supermarket, to well-meaning friends and relatives. Everyone but everyone feels a need to voice an opinion, and in the case of special needs, the social attitude towards bilingualism is overwhelmingly negative.

Read more in our magazine

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