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sara issa
Reply with quote  #1 
My husband has spoke primarly spanish to our son I speak english and stay at home. Our son is in class 1 hour a week with other children. The teacher noticed that she could not understand him and times and he would become frustrated and thought he needed to be screened. Is this typical of bilingual children that sometimes other adults that do not know them cannot understand them ? We always understand him most of the time. I think he is on target for a normal 3year old. Are there early childhood screenings for bilingual children since they are different than other children.

Of course other family members think we are just confusing him, but that is because they do not understand the benefit.
Reply with quote  #2 
It is not uncommon for a three-year-old to be hard to understand--whether bilingual or monolingual! So this is most likely the case of an overly-zealous teacher. My four-year-old's teacher told us we should take her to a speech pathologist, and then we found out that three other kids in the class were also told that. I think we as a society are expecting too much of our preschoolers!

That being said, it is definitely worth having your child screened by a professional speech pathologist. We are in the process of looking for an appropriate professional for our child (we had to delay starting the process for various reasons). Of all professionals dealing with children (teachers, doctors, etc.), speech pathologists are the most savvy about issues of bilingualism and least likely to be biased. Ideally, you would seek out a Spanish-English bilingual speech pathologist. If you live in the US, ASHA (American Speech Language Hearing Association) should be able to give you a referral to a bilingual professional.

The problem may be related to an ear infection, or something else, so it is important to find out.

It is most likely that the problem is unrelated to bilingualism and from what I've read, there are very few cases when one of the languages has to be dropped. One case I do know about is the child of a friend of ours. She was being exposed to four languages (German at home, English and Arabic at school, Arabic in the community, and French as a foreign language class at school). When she was around 8 or 9 it was found that she had a learning disability, and it was recommended that she drop down to two: German at home and English at school, dropping French and Arabic. The family felt this was the right thing to do. But even then, she still had 2 languages!

So, get your child screened for peace of mind, by a bilingual speech pathologist.

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