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ABA for a bilingual child, anyone has experience?

(10 Posts)
Wiolla Mon 02-Jun-14 14:36:46


I would really appreciate any advice on or experience on how things may work out.

I have a 3 y.o who has been raised in a bilingual environment, sadly he is running a developmental delay and main issue speech and language (not just a late talker) which greatly affects his communication and social side with peers.

We are about to start and ABA programme for him and our consultant recommends against using a second language until DS is fluent in English. Same advice was given by a private psychologist.

Which of course breaks my heart as it means dropping my language, switching into English for at least couple of years and it feels so unnatural for me. However, I do not want my son to get stuck in his progress because of my own feelings, on the other hand it does make me sad and worried that I will have to speak a foreign language to me own child.

At the moment his Expressive English is more advanced than the other language but still way behind where he should have been even if to consider the bilingual component which may sometimes slow down things. His receptive language is about 6-8 months behind and general development is about 1 year behind, though not in all areas.

Any thoughts and ideas are welcome.

noramum Wed 04-Jun-14 21:48:05

I would try to get a second opinion from a speech therapist who has experience with bi-lingual children.

i personally would have enormous difficulties speaking English all the time to DD. I am fluent but still make grammar mistakes and fear I would teach DD lots of silly errors instead of decent English. I also have issues reading to DD in English. I do it but it is less fluent than in German.

I also feel language is an emotional tool, so in situations where I would cuddle, praise, love or be angry with her it is always German which comes out.

TheEmpress Fri 06-Jun-14 00:08:23

I would never listen to advice to drop a language.

Wiolla Mon 09-Jun-14 17:25:30

Thank you for your opinions. I suppose if the child has no problems with development, then yes, 2 languages are fine, but when there is a problem then you have to think what is bestsad((

noramum Tue 10-Jun-14 12:58:18

Yes but the question is, is being bi-lingual the problem or not. And just one opinion - a very typical one from somebody not familiar with the concept - is not what I would rely on.

Wiolla Tue 10-Jun-14 21:32:47

Well, it is becoming a hard choice. But when on the scale of things is social and communication delay with peers who are here and who speak English, then reducing one language can help speeding up general development. I am not talking about children who are just late talkers, in our case he is behind in terms of maturity, language , understanding which makes him very vulnerable, affects his self-esteem and at the same time I see that he acts more like a 2 y.o rather the a 3 y.o. I wish schools were not so early in this country then we would have had enough time to help him.

I think no one knows for sure how being bilingual works for some kids. The general concept is that children pick up 2/3 languages naturally, maybe most of them do, but some don't. I do not think being bi-lingual causes developmental delay, but it may cause some natural speech delay, and if all other aspects of development are fine, then it is not a cause of concern.

Bonsoir Fri 04-Jul-14 13:51:43

A friend of mine with a child with moderate developmental delay persisted with bilingual schooling for far too long - until her DC was 7. She relented after four difficult years and he still had to repeat a year in order to learn to read in his first language.

kelda Fri 04-Jul-14 15:07:12

What is the ABA program?

My ds has a severe speech disorder, an articulation disorder, and he is brought up bilingually. A couple of paeds/salts suggested that he was behind because he is bilingual, but fairly quickly they realised that he would have this disorder however many languages he speaks. We live in an area where it is the norm to be bilingual, and no-one has ever suggested that we drop a language.

I do admit, that in my ds's case, he does not have a receptive or expressive delay - it is literally just a problem of being able to say the words clearly.

The only case I know of where parents have dropped a langauge was due to severe ASD, where the child was non-verbal.

kelda Fri 04-Jul-14 15:22:40

Other children I know with ASD are bilingual.

I think considering that the language that they are recommending you to drop is your own language, the child's mother-tongue, this could potentially be very hard for you and may even be detrimental to family relationships (eg. grandparents).

Even in the case where I know of a langauge being dropped, it was not the mother-tongue.

kelda Fri 04-Jul-14 15:33:08

Also there is new evidence to suggest that poeple subtlely change their personality when speaking a different langauge. This is something that you may want to consider if you do decide to drop your own language.

Another question, I assume his hearing has been checked?

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