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s&l disorder - are 3 languages too much? moondog maybe?

(14 Posts)
chocjunkie Fri 17-Jun-11 08:55:55

some of you might remember that DD (3) has severely delayed/disordered speech. no other dx yet...

think I haven't mentioned so far that DD grows up with 3 languages:
- L1 is my mothertongue
- L2 is her DP's mothertongue
- L3 is english as community language

L1 and L2 are 12-18 month behind her chronological age and she seems pretty much equally strong in the two. biggest problem is english. she has been attending nursery for 2.5 years (though not full time) and she just doesn't pick it up sad

we know that the 3 languages are not the cause of her problems but I start thinking that 3 languages might be too much for her in her circumstances.

Salt & paed strongly advised against dropping L1 & L2. in my heart I feel it would be really awful to drop L1/L2 for DD as it would take her basis for communication away (not to mention what it would mean for our relationship to each other - speaking to DD in a foreign languages just feels plain wrong to me).

but the doubts whether keeping all 3 languages is the right thing to do keep coming back...

should also mention that DD can switch rather quickly and effortlessly between L1 and L2 depending to whom she is talking to. so the 2 languages don't seem to be confusing as such iyswim.

anybody been in a similar situation? what did you do?

DeWe Fri 17-Jun-11 09:28:54

To be honest, and I'm not an expert, but that may be perfectly normal in trilingual children.
I knew a pair of twins who were being brought up bilingual and at about 22 months they cut out the second language because they weren't speaking either language at all but had made up a very complex twin language. They were speaking English very quickly after that. But the mum was told it was quite common for bilingual children to be late in speaking and they weren't worried except for the production of the made up language.

I agree that it would be a pity to lose the other languages though.

blueShark Fri 17-Jun-11 09:31:31

when DS was 3 I dropped DH and mine mothertongue (unfortunately) and only concentrated on English as I was worried he was starting Reception in a 1 year time and he was so behind on L1 and L2 anyway....

Some days I regret the decision as when we visit family on both countries he still needs to be spoken only in English. He turns 5 soon and English is still delayed, last assessment placed him at 4+ for receptive and 3 and a half for expressive.

We had mixed advice from professionals:
paed said start introducing L1 or L2 sooner rather than later if you want him to be able to use it at some point
SALT said wait for another year so that he catches up in English more
independent clinic that did a holistic assessment said dont you dare use another language until he catches up with english delay which will be few years I guess

He occasionally uses some words from L1 and L2 and has some understanding of simple instruction.

Its a difficult decision but if you DD communicates effectively in L1 and L2 please dont drop them, she will, and will have to pick up English once in school. Dont reduce her vocabulary by dropping a language.

chocjunkie Fri 17-Jun-11 09:34:05

dewe - thanks.

we are under paed and salt and all agree that her 3 languages are not the reason for her problems. she basically has s&l problems and just happens to group up with more than one language iyswim. language is not just delayed but severely disordered as well.

chocjunkie Fri 17-Jun-11 09:53:20

thanks blueshark - its confusing isn't it - even the professionals can't agree. and it just has so huge implications whatever one decides to do. I would not want her to lose L1/L2. equally, I worry for DD and her starting school if she doesn't does not come on in english at all.

how was your son s&l-wise before you dropped the languages? and do you think his progress in english was/is due to having dropped L1 and L2?

tasmaniandevilchaser Fri 17-Jun-11 10:00:34

it's a shame that people get conflicting advice, the research actually says don't give up home languages. Have to dash as have to deal with the potty, but if your DD is using L1 and L2, it doesn't make sense to give them up.

chocjunkie Fri 17-Jun-11 10:11:38

she is using L1 and L2 but they are also very much delayed/disordered. but not as bad as her English (which is pretty much non-existent).

blueShark Fri 17-Jun-11 10:18:12

his progress in English was definitely due to dropping the languages but he is still behind however improving all the time. We are at a point now that I get no meltdowns due to communication barrier.

He was dx with asd last year although having the speech delay as a primary issue rather than the triad of impairements (he is not obsessed by routine or toys) and recently passed the ADOS at a private clinic which makes me wonder did we confuse him really with the 3 languages and the constant travelling between the 3 countries or did he have mild autism and traits that with the language coming are less obvious?

chocjunkie Fri 17-Jun-11 10:25:13

sounds a bit like DD. we had initially been referred as there were concerns about asd but paed thinks unlikely (though won't rule it out yet). her main problem is language and social communication/interaction with others. but also no problems with routines, no obsessions etc). though is is generally very immature.

blueShark Fri 17-Jun-11 10:32:14

where research is concerned (and I am sure I will get attacked here but I would like to share personal opinion) I value the outcome obviously taking into account the sample used, time of trial etc but I treat my DS as an individual also and see if it works for him.

Research shows dont drop mother tongue and for the social and cultural aspects (and as I said earlier I couldnt agree more), but it helped us and DS.
Research shows gluten and diary free doesnt always help and hasnt for some posters here...but since DS is on soya milk the devil inside him has turned into an angel and he is less hyper; since I switched to 90% gluten free his running stims from room to room have disappeared. Allergy test confirmed remove diary and wheat and rye
Research (some) shows AIT can damage your hearing profile, did wonders for us and DS is still improving. Hearing sensitivity gone and he responds excellent in busy environments
Research shows RRT doesnt help, also doing wonders for us

Its really difficult to decide what to try and what not...I was horrified of trying gluten and diary free and was happy reading reviews it doesnt always help so I though great, not for us, but in fast is not that hard. Now considering even the GAPS as it was recommended by the private clinic that did the allergy testing and the live blood analysis.

blueShark Fri 17-Jun-11 10:39:36

chocjunkie - who cares about the label, it may help you get a better provision for DD when she starts school next year like it did for us; I couldnt get SA for DS but with the dx got his a place at a fantastic unit for mixed learning difficulties attached to mainstream that does daily integration with mainstream...so we get best of both worlds.

And the main bit is DC making progress, labels are for jam jars ;)

working9while5 Fri 17-Jun-11 20:38:11

Hey blueShark.

At university on my current postgrad, one of the lecturers talked about clinical data rarely "being representative or generalisable" because development isn't typical so is idiosyncratic.

I was taught that all languages should be maintained etc at university but I am coming across more research that it doesn't always work, that a child needs about 25% input (e.g. to hear a language a quarter of the time they hear language) to develop it in typical circumstances, so I suppose that is complicated for children who are not fully picking up the input?

But while I would never query a parents' decision on this, I would not make an explicit recommendation to anyone to drop a language on the basis of the information I have because there is limited evidence and such fall out socially and emotionally from losing a link to your grandparents/culture etc. I would need to know more.

glimmer Fri 17-Jun-11 22:10:22

Very interesting. We are wondering the same, although we are only bilingual.
DS (NT) was not delayed in acquiring language at all. DD has (due to her condition expected) delays especially in expressive language. She will learn a word in L1, then loose it, learn it in L2, loose it and I am wondering if we are confusing her with the two languages. Regression always raises flags.

I enjoyed working9while5 post - this makes a lot of sense.

blueShark Sat 18-Jun-11 08:43:44

thanks for the valuable post working9while5. Wish most professionals presented the both side of the argument/research before telling us parents what is the best approach rather than 'you should do this...'.

DSs grandparents had to learn English at such a late time in life but having a language as a means for communication is more important than any effort they have to put in. And as for the cousins/younger generations, they are learning English from Year 2 in school now so should be easy for my DS to communicate with them when we visit.

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