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A survey of speech and language therapists’ opinions of bilingualism and the advice they give to bilingual families of children with speech, language and communication needs – a comparative study between the UK and Singapore

Sharpe, Eleanor; Perovic, Alexandra; (2023) A survey of speech and language therapists’ opinions of bilingualism and the advice they give to bilingual families of children with speech, language and communication needs – a comparative study between the UK and Singapore. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics 10.1080/02699206.2023.2268260. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

There is emerging evidence that bilingualism is advantageous to children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), reflected in recommendations to promote maintenance of the home language. However, little is known about Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs)' opinions on bilingualism and practices with bilingual families. To survey the opinions and practices of SLTs on this topic, a questionnaire was developed and delivered as an anonymous web-based survey. We recruited SLTs from Singapore, where bilingualism is the norm amongst the general population and enshrined in government policies, and the UK, where bilingualism is less prevalent and not embedded in government policy. Questions probed SLTs' opinions, advice given to parents/carers, personal and professional experience of bilingualism, and knowledge of and opinions on official guidelines from the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapy (RCSLT). The survey revealed variability in opinions and practices of SLTs working with bilingual families. Amongst the UK-based respondents, the RCSLT bilingualism guidance was generally perceived positively, however, many were unfamiliar with its content, or found barriers to its implementation. Most SLTs reported recommending bilingualism to families of children with SLCN and suggesting that parents/carers speak in all languages they are proficient in, but a minority reported views and practice based on outdated assumptions: practitioners who believed bilingualism can cause or contribute to SLCN were less likely to recommend that parents/carers speak languages they are proficient in. These findings can help identify areas to target within training and continuing professional development to increase evidence-based advice given to bilingual families.

Type: Article
Title: A survey of speech and language therapists’ opinions of bilingualism and the advice they give to bilingual families of children with speech, language and communication needs – a comparative study between the UK and Singapore
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/02699206.2023.2268260
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/02699206.2023.2268260
Language: English
Additional information: © 2023 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.
Keywords: Bilingualism, speech and language therapists, survey
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Linguistics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10181165
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