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Breaking The Stigma: Are Children With Special Needs Incapable Of Learning A Second Language?

Update Date: Jan 19, 2017 10:32 PM EST

Children with special needs are often being limited when it comes to learning. One stigma attached to them is their capability to learn multiple languages, as some argue that children with special needs should not become bilingual as they struggle with developmental disability.

An international research focusing on children with Language Impairment, Down Syndrome, and Autism Spectrum Disorder and their capability to stay and remain bilingual all throughout their lifespan. Contrary to the statement that children with special needs are not capable of learning a second language, researchers proved otherwise.

Psychology Today had an interview with the principal investigator, Elisabeth Kay the Raining Bird of Dalhousie University in Canada, it was discussed that children with special needs have unique learning abilities that are yet to unfold.

Elisabeth Kay explained that one of the greatest fears that most families and professionals point out is the fact that children with special needs might have a hard time learning two languages. It was mentioned that children with special needs are already having a hard time learning one language, let alone a second one that might possibly end up with the child not being able to talk at all.

 "This is a myth and it has been debunked through studies of typically developing children and children from our three groups" Kay explained during the interview. "Children with developmental disabilities, regardless of diagnosis, can and do become bilingual, but, unfortunately, many professionals and families are not aware of these research findings. "

Teacher Vision pointed out that children with learning disabilities are definitely capable of being bilingual. Their capabilities to learn and to be taught are often based on their age, their degree of disability, intellectual capacity, and level of proficiency in their first language.

Children with special needs have their own skills are yet to unfold, thus parents and care givers should be keen when it comes to enhancing their skills.

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