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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Working with bilingual children at risk of developmental language disorder: adapting assessment and intervention for the nursery-aged bilingual child

Letts, Carolyn, Pert, Sean, Czaplewska, Ewa, Ashton, Elaine, Benson, Kate, Preston, Emily, Stringer, Helen, Trebacz, Anastasia, Wareham, Helen, McKean, Cristina and Jack, Christine (2020) Working with bilingual children at risk of developmental language disorder: adapting assessment and intervention for the nursery-aged bilingual child. In: NADLIC 28 Multilingual Britain: Successes, challenges and future directions, 21 November 2020, Online (Zoom).

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


A proportion of all children (7.58%: RCSLT) have significant difficulty acquiring language, irrespective of whether this applies to their first and only language or to two or more languages acquired in a multilingual setting. These children have developmental language disorder (DLD) and once identified are supported in school by speech & language therapists working with SENDCOs and other school staff. The majority are slow to develop language in the preschool years and identification and intervention at that point is crucial for later education including literacy. This poses a problem for professionals if the child is bilingual; distinguishing overall language delay from lack of familiarity with the majority language and providing intervention in the home language are both problematic. This work is part of a larger project (LIVELY) investigating the effectiveness of an early language programme for 3-4 year olds who are at risk for DLD. The programme focuses on early word combinations and sentences of increasing complexity. We are conducting a number of case studies with children who are acquiring a home language and expected to learn English. For these children, the programme will be conducted in their home language. This involves adaptation of both language assessment and intervention material to this language, with the possibility of remote working with the child if dictated by the pandemic situation. In this presentation we describe the strategies used to make these adaptations to Polish and to Mirpuri (Pakistani Heritage language), both of which are spoken widely in the UK. While sentence structure differs across languages, the focus is on the unique events that can be communicated through early sentences, universal to all linguistic contexts. Specific issues that we have encountered in developing these adaptations will also be discussed. Language Intervention in the Early Years (LIVELY): Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists (RCSLT):

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More Information

Depositing User: Anastasia Trebacz


Item ID: 16848

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Anastasia Trebacz: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2023 17:48
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2024 14:44


Author: Anastasia Trebacz ORCID iD
Author: Carolyn Letts
Author: Sean Pert
Author: Ewa Czaplewska
Author: Elaine Ashton
Author: Kate Benson
Author: Emily Preston
Author: Helen Stringer
Author: Helen Wareham
Author: Cristina McKean
Author: Christine Jack

University Divisions

Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing > School of Medicine


Education > Early Childhood Studies
Sciences > Health Sciences
Social Sciences > Working with Young People

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