Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Immigrant Children Misdiagnosed As Language-impaired

Date:
August 25, 2005
Source:
University of Alberta
Summary:
Immigrant children still mastering the English language risk being shuffled into special education services they don't need, because of errors in assessment for speech problems, according to a new University of Alberta study.

Immigrant children still mastering the English language risk beingshuffled into special education services they don't need, because oferrors in assessment for speech problems, according to a new Universityof Alberta study.

The study showed that the expressive language characteristics oftypically developing children learning English as a second language aresimilar to the English spoken by monolingual children who have specificlanguage impairment. "The errors they make when they speak English arenearly identical to the errors children make when they arelanguage-impaired," said Dr. Johanne Paradis, a linguistics professorat the University of Alberta.

The study appears in the July, 2005 edition of Language, Speech & Hearing Services in Schools.

In studying 24 children aged four to seven who have beenlearning English as a second language for an average of 9.5 months, Dr.Paradis discovered that their accuracy rates and error patterns weresimilar to those reported in monolingual children who had beendiagnosed with speech language impairment. The children were tested intheir usage of verbs, prepositions and determiner words like 'a' and'the'.

"The existing similarities, along with large individualdifferences in how quickly children learn English, could result inmisdiagnosis and therefore be a cause of unnecessary referrals tospeech therapy services," Dr. Paradis said. This phenomenon could bepart of a larger problem that has been widely acknowledged in theUnited States that linguistic minority children are statisticallyover-represented in all areas of special education," said Dr. Paradis.

This overlap in linguistic characteristics between Englishsecond language children and language-impaired children is an issue formany countries: Canada, the U.S.A., the United Kingdom and Australia."

And while it may appear beneficial to have immigrant childrenenrolled for focused linguistic attention by receiving therapyservices, the youngsters may suffer stigmatization, Paradis said."Their parents may believe there is something wrong with the child. Andreceiving special education services can colour a child's educationfuture and self-esteem."

Nor is it a good use of scarce resources for special education,Dr. Paradis noted. "The services need to be there for the children whoreally need them."

The method of language testing for immigrant children must bechanged, Dr. Paradis added. "The use of English standardized tests withnon-native English-speakers is not a good practice. You can'tuncritically use tests developed for native speakers with kids who havebeen exposed to English for just one year." As part of the study, thechildren were administered a standardized test for languagedevelopment, and nearly all of them scored as if they werelanguage-impaired.

Young children learning English can be expected to makegrammatical errors, well into the second year of their experiencespeaking the language, and more appropriate expectations need to be setwhen assessing the youngsters, Paradis said. She suggested that insteadof comparing their skills to those of monolingual English-speakingchildren, they be compared to the skills of their peers; otheryoungsters who are also learning English as a second language.

###

Paradis' study was funded by the Alberta Heritage Foundation forMedical Research and by the Social Sciences and Humanities ResearchCouncil of Canada.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Alberta. "Immigrant Children Misdiagnosed As Language-impaired." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 August 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050825071404.htm>.
University of Alberta. (2005, August 25). Immigrant Children Misdiagnosed As Language-impaired. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050825071404.htm
University of Alberta. "Immigrant Children Misdiagnosed As Language-impaired." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050825071404.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins