According to the 2013 Census Information, in San Francisco 45% of families speak a language other than English spoken at home.
In keeping with our mission statement of ensuring the highest quality speech therapy for ALL children, we proudly offer bilingual speech language therapy and evaluations in Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese.
Our bilingual therapists possess the knowledge and skills needed to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services. Our bilingual speech therapists understand the pattern of language acquisition in the second language, the differing grammatical structures, the pattern of bilingual acquisition (what it looks like when a child begins developing two languages rather than just one) as well as typical versus atypical errors for bilingual speakers. Our therapists consider both his or her own language proficiency in the target language and the language demands of the client and family.
Children are often two or three years old before a delay in speech/language development is detected. This means that, by the time children receive speech therapy, they have several years of exposure to the language that is used in their home. Rather than starting from scratch with a completely new language (English), therapy in the native language can built upon the language skills that the child understands and can use. By establishing a solid base in the first language during the preschool years, children show greater long term outcomes related to second language acquisition and school performance. Cognitive and linguistic research has consistently supported strong first language acquisition as a positive indicator for later learning.
There are MANY reasons to support a child’s primary language. To start, there are negative social and emotional implications if the primary language is lost. The child needs to know his or her primary language in order to be part of their community/culture and build relationships with family members. Also, a strong first language will help the development of the second language.
Most children have the capacity and facility to learn more than one language. Researchers say that there are advantages to being bilingual. These advantages might include:
- Being able to learn new words easily
- Playing rhyming games with words like “cat” and “hat”
- Breaking down words by sounds, such as C-A-T for cat
- Being able to use information in new ways
- Putting words into categories
- Coming up with solutions to problems
- Good listening skills
- Connecting with others
- Improved auditory attention
- Improved executive function
- Better at conflict management
- Better at multitasking
- Improved flexible thinking
- Better at categorization