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Foundations in Bilingual and Biliterate Learning and Development

presented by Laura Epstein and Betty Yu

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Disclosure Statement:

Laura Epstein and Betty Yu receive compensation from MedBridge for this course. There is no financial interest beyond the production of this course.


Non-Financial: Laura Epstein and Betty Yu have no competing non-financial interests or relationships with regard to the content presented in this course.

Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

MedBridge is committed to accessibility for all of our subscribers. If you are in need of a disability-related accommodation, please contact support@medbridgeed.com. We will process requests for reasonable accommodation and will provide reasonable accommodations where appropriate, in a prompt and efficient manner.

Accreditation Check:
More than half of the world population is bilingual or multilingual. According to the U.S. Census (2010), approximately a quarter of the U.S. population over the age of five speaks a language other than English at home. Since 1980, the nation’s overall population grew by 34 percent while the percentage of speakers of non-English languages grew by 140 percent. In contrast, fewer than 5 percent of speech-language pathologists in the U.S. speak a language other than English. Children from minority-language backgrounds are disproportionately represented in Special Education and lack access to equitable services to support their needs. What do speech-language pathologists need to understand in order to better support the needs of the bilingual children that they serve? This course will provide an overview of the cognitive, developmental, and cultural foundations of typical bilingual and biliterate acquisition in children. This course is one of three courses on bilingualism. In the next two courses, issues related to assessment and children with communication disabilities are discussed.

Meet Your Instructors

Laura Epstein, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Laura Epstein, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, is an Associate Professor, Program Coordinator and School Internship Coordinator at San Francisco State University. Her research and clinical focus is on Spanish-bilingual language development/disorders and inclusion. She was California Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention Program Co-Chair, 2014 & 2015, and Volunteer Committee Co-Chair in 2016. She was awarded the CSHA Diversity Award,…

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Betty Yu, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Betty Yu is an Associate Professor in the Department of Special Education & Communicative Disorders. Before joining the faculty at San Francisco State, she practiced as a speech-language therapist primarily serving young children and their families in minority communities. Her research interest is in how children's language development interfaces with the development of sociocultural competence.…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Bilingualism and Its Developmental Outcomes

The purpose of the chapter is to introduce foundational concepts in bilingual development, including what is bilingualism; how it develops; the factors that influence development; and the unique linguistic and cognitive competencies associated with bilingualism.

2. Bilingualism and Biliteracy

Children from minority-language backgrounds have literacy experiences as an integral part of their language development, but these literacy experiences are different from those of majority-language children. It is important to acknowledge the literacy experiences of minority-language children, while at the same time, building on these to support literacy skills in both languages.

3. Heritage Language Maintenance

Families are at the center of bilingual and biliterate transmission, also called heritage language maintenance. Language and literacy co-develop through everyday family interactions. Bilingualism and biliteracy are unlikely to develop or develop fully without family involvement. In this chapter, we discuss family perspectives on bilingualism and biliteracy and how to work with families to support their own goals for their children.

4. Q&A Session

A question and answer session with the instructors and a student in her clinical fellowship year discussing what was covered in the course.

More Courses in this Series

Assessment of Bilingual Children and English Language Learners

Presented by Laura Epstein, Ph.D., CCC-SLP and Betty Yu, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Assessment of Bilingual Children and English Language Learners

Subscribe now, and access clinical education and patient education—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.
Children from minority-language backgrounds are disproportionately represented in Special Education and lack access to equitable services to support their needs. A significant contributor to the problem is that speech-language pathologists and teachers often have difficulties distinguishing between what are typical behaviors in second language learning and what are indicators of language disorders. The purpose of this chapter is to provide an assessment framework for differentiating between language differences and language disorders. This course will provide a framework for assessing bilingual children and children who are English language learners. This course will also provide case examples of assessments in the family setting and in the school setting. This course is second of three courses on bilingualism. In the next course, bilingualism in children with communication disabilities are discussed.

View full course details

Bilingualism and Children with Communication Disabilities

Presented by Laura Epstein, Ph.D., CCC-SLP and Betty Yu, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Bilingualism and Children with Communication Disabilities

Subscribe now, and access clinical education and patient education—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.
Can children with communication disabilities become bilingual? Will bilingualism exacerbate their difficulties or further delay their development? While there is ample data on the advantages of bilingualism for typically developing children, many professionals and parents are still fearful of speaking more than one language with children who have significant communication disorders they worry that bilingualism would be too taxing for children who are already struggling with language, or may further delay the acquisition of one or both languages. In this course, we will review the current research on bilingual children with communication disabilities, including children with specific language impairment and autism spectrum disorders. We will also answer frequently asked questions about bilingualism in children communication disabilities as well as offer perspectives from parents of children with communication disabilities from bilingual families. It is the aim of this course to dispel common myths about bilingualism in children with communication disorders and to promote family-centered and culturally and linguistically responsive services for children with communication disabilities from diverse linguistic backgrounds.

View full course details

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