Speech and language delay are a concern to many parents raising bilingual owing to the widespread myths that bilingualism causes speech delay and that bilingual kids are late talkers.
I am no language professional, but if this topic is a concern to you, I would like to recommend a few interesting reads I came across.
- The Language Revolution – Podcast 22 “Speech and Language Therapy” by Cate Hamilton.
This is in fact a post and podcast. In the latter, Cate Hamilton interviews speech language therapist and bilingual mum Ronni Ozoplat who is specialised in bilingualism. Ronni debunks myths and explains the difference between speech and language delay. She indicates what is normal development and what should be a red flag in your child’s speech.
- “Language Delay: Guest Post by Estela Bayarri” for Mama Llama (also available in Spanish on Estela’s website).
This great post was written by Spanish speech language therapist Estela Bayarri who as a mum raising trilingual also knows about bilingualism. In her post she debunks the classical myths about bilingualism, but also shares tips when you are concerned about your child’s speech and what you can do to help.
- “Speech-Language Pathologist Tells All About Bilingualism, Speech, and Language Delays” by Ana Paula Mummy.
A bilingual mum and speech pathologist explains what to expect in your bilingual child’s speech and the red flags.
- “Stop Telling Parents of Bilingual Children to Use One Language” by Elisabeth Peña.
A short post in which this Speech Language Therapist makes a strong case for not giving up a language under the pretence to help a child suffering from a speech delay.
- “Bilingualism” by Mary Pat O’Malley.
Another short post that asserts it again: bilingualism does not cause speech delay and dropping a language is no solution. It then goes on leaving links to posts per specific problem on that same blog, TalkNua.
- “Dr. Mary-Pat O’Malley – When Your Bilingual Child Seems Late “ on Raising Multilingual LIVE.
This is in fact an hour long video interview that starts with a very strong message from Dr. O’Malley: studies show that bilingualism does not cause speech delay! She then gives a few tips for parents concerned with their child’s speech.
I hope this post will help you. It is a topic close to my heart. If in doubt, read up on people specialised in bilingualism. Note that there are a lot of professionals out there who are not specialised in that field and who can provide inaccurate information based on the early and outdated studies that gave rise to these myths of bilingualism causing speech delay.
Modern research has since demonstrated it is completely untrue. So read up well and, should need be, contact a professional specialised in bilingualism. If you look at the website of all the Speech Language Therapists in these posts, I believe they provide online services, so check them out.