Guest Blog Submitted by our friends at Language Stars
It’s a common myth in the US that introducing an additional language to your child will cause them to develop speech delays or maybe even have academic difficulties. We often forget that bilingualism is the norm in much of the world with over 66% percent of children growing up bilingual. While many parents believe multilingual children will start speaking later than monolingual peers, extensive research has shown that children still start speaking within the normal milestones. As Colin Baker, a prominent researcher in childhood bilingualism, noted in his book The Care and Education of Young Bilinguals:
“Raising children bilingually is sometimes believed to cause language delay, though evidence does not support this position. Raising children bilingually neither increases nor reduces the chance of language disorder or delay.”
In addition, once they do start speaking, they’ll start speaking in two languages – an amazing gift to your child!
Of course, you still want to check with a professional if you have any concerns. Usually your pediatrician will know a good speech pathologist as the younger you catch something, the more easily you can address it. However, you can rest assured that speaking or introducing another language to your child will not cause or exacerbate any issues.
Learning another language is even beneficial for many children that actually do have a diagnosed learning disorder. Unless your child has a language processing disorder where there is an issue with the way the brain is receiving or producing language, language learning will actually help your child in life by giving them an additional skill to help overcome other obstacles. The flexibility and advanced cognitive benefits created by learning another language may actually help your child deal with other learning issues. As always, talk to your childcare professional about what the best approach is for your child. North Shore Pediatrics has many specialists that can help you diagnose and treat a wide range of developmental issues with your child.
Language Stars teaches Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Italian, French, and German to children 1-10 in a fun and immersive environment. To find out more information or register for programs call 866-55-STARS.