The third in our series on bilingualism by Millie Slavidou deals with bilingualism and special needs. If you missed the first two parts, you can find them here – 7 Reasons to Bring up Your Kids Bilingual and Supporting Bilingualism in Tweens and Teens.
Parents of children with special needs frequently find they need to grow a thick skin to deal with all the ignorance and comments directed at them, and this is especially true in a bilingual family. As a mother of a child with special needs myself, bringing him up in a bilingual family has been a challenge. I have been accused of deliberately trying to sabotage his development through speaking my own language to him!
In times of limited health care budgets, it can be frustrating for parents and children, when therapy sessions are few and far between. Emily has some great tips on getting the most out of therapy for children.
‘I’m so cross. I had a speech & language session with our local community speech & language therapist and she said she couldn’t see us more than every six weeks! How on earth is my son going to be able to progress at that rate?? I mean, seriously. He’s three and can’t talk yet. Surely they can see he needs some serious intervention? Bloody funding issues but I think they actually just don’t care. I’m furious about it.’
I’ve heard this all too often – about Speech & Language, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy…any kind of therapy for children. Yes there may be funding issues, and the frequency of appointments might well be less than the therapist would ideally be recommending, but every six weeks can be enough to make the difference.