HESP Seminar: The Disproportionate Identification of Language-Related Disorders in Bilingual...

Tuesday, January 24, 2023
2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
1119 Susquehanna Hall

Title: "The Disproportionate Identification of Language-Related Disorders in Bilingual Children"

SpeakerJosé Ortiz (University of Maryland)

AbstractThe disproportionate identification of language-related disorders in schools, including communication disorders and specific learning disability, is an ongoing problem for bilingual children with evidence of both over- and underrepresentation. Despite advances in our understanding of disability identification patterns, there is limited information about identification rates for different groups of bilinguals across grades. Thus, the purpose of this study was to determine the degree to which different groups of bilingual children are disproportionately identified with language-related disorders. Using a nationally representative, individual-level, longitudinal data set, this study examined the prevalence and incidence of language-related disorders in emergent and English-proficient bilinguals, compared to monolinguals, from kindergarten to fifth grade. This study also examined individual- and school-level predictors of disability identification for bilingual children. Results reveal significant differences in identification rates across groups. Emergent bilinguals experienced a disproportionate increase in disability identification rates in third grade, resulting in significant overrepresentation in subsequent grades. English-proficient bilinguals, on the other hand, were underrepresented in language-related disorder categories in early elementary school grades, but experienced identification rates similar to monolinguals by fifth grade. Outcomes from this study provide insight into patterns of language-related disorder identification for bilinguals that have not been addressed in previous research. The implications for practice and policy are discussed.

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