Verdon, S., McLeod, S., & Wong, S. (2014, in press April). Reconceptualising practice with multilingual children with speech sound disorders: People, practicalities, and policy. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders
Here is the abstract:
Background: The speech and language therapy profession is required to provide services to increasingly multilingual caseloads. Much international research has focused on the challenges of speech and language therapists’ (SLTs) practice with multilingual children.
Aims: The aim of this paper is to draw on the experience and knowledge of experts in the field to (i) identify aspirations for practice (ii) propose recommendations for working effectively with multilingual children with speech sound disorders and (iii) reconceptualise understandings of and approaches to practice.
Methods and Procedures: Fourteen members of the International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children’s Speech met in Cork, Ireland to discuss SLTs’ practice with multilingual children with speech sound disorders. Panel members had worked in 18 countries and spoke nine languages. Transcripts of the 6-hour discussion were analysed using Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) as a heuristic framework to make visible the reality and complexities of SLTs’ practice with multilingual children.
Outcomes and Results: A number of aspirations and recommendations for reconceptualising approaches to practice with multilingual children with speech sound disorders were identified. These include: increased training for working with multilingual children and their families, working with interpreters and transcribing speech in many languages, increased time and resources for SLTs working with multilingual children and use of the ICY-CY to ensure holistic consideration of individual children’s functioning and participation in context.
Conclusions and Implications: The reality and complexities of practice identified in this paper highlight that it is not possible to formulate and implement one ‘gold standard’ method of assessment and intervention for all multilingual children with speech sound disorders. It is possible, however, to underpin practice with a framework that ensures comprehensive assessment, accurate diagnosis, and effective intervention. This paper proposes that by working towards the aspirations of the Expert Panel, SLTs can be empowered to facilitate appropriate services for multilingual children regardless of the context in which they live and the languages they speak.