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Old 14.01.2014, 22:38
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Speech therapist with multilingual children experience in Basel or Zurich

Hello,
Any recommendations for a speech therapist with experience with multilingual children.
I would like to get an evaluation for my son who is 3.5 years old and would like someone who has experience with multilingual children.
Thanks!
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Old 14.01.2014, 23:06
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Re: Speech therapist with multilingual children experience in Basel or Zurich

Hey, don't have a recommendation for a speech therapist but can offer a 1st hand experience with a trilingual child, she really started speaking around 4,5yr. And it's absolutely normal. Including tantrums, since for some kids it can be very frustrating to be physically ready to speak but slowed down due to a language overload.
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Old 15.01.2014, 22:00
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Re: Speech therapist with multilingual children experience in Basel or Zurich

thank you for your response. i have read many parents say that it takes more time. are there anything you could recommend to help them with their speech development?
regards,
isabelle
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Old 15.01.2014, 22:15
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Re: Speech therapist with multilingual children experience in Basel or Zurich

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thank you for your response. i have read many parents say that it takes more time. are there anything you could recommend to help them with their speech development?
regards,
isabelle
Singing. A lot of music. Every day. We sang for years, it calmed her and made her happy to be able to retain lyrics. Repetitive anything really helps. Rhyming, with body motions. Hop up stairs and rap a word out each time, numbers, whatever. Count the numbers in elevators. I have radio station for kids on all the time, we rapped stuff out. I made up melodies with my own words she could relate to. Colors. Days of the week. All that stuff. Kitchen is plastered with posters with alphabet and words, pictures. Also as eating mats. She was read to at bed times almost every day, and I rocked her to sleep with melodies she knew and words she mumbled to. It's really not easy for some kids. But then it all came out, at once, in loooong run on sentences. And she hasn't stopped.

I was starting to worry after 4, but remembering some monolingual kids that start around 3, and having linguists on hand, I took it easy and was patient.
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Old 16.01.2014, 06:11
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Re: Speech therapist with multilingual children experience in Basel or Zurich

My understanding is that speech delay is not caused by multilingualism, but if a speech delay exists in one language, it will exist in both.

However, it would be best if the child is tested I their mother tongue, the language that they are most comfortable.

I would expect in Zurich most speech therapists work with multilingual children every day!

However, you did not say what mother tongue.

Either way, I would suggest speaking to the child's Paediatrician about a referral, and ask specifically if they can recommend someone who can do the testing and therapy in the child's mother tongue.

If they cannot find someone easily, then I know one person in Zurich who is a trained speech therapist from the uk, and you could also try 'foundations for learning' in Zurich as I am sure they can point you in the right direction.

Even with English mother-tongue you might have a preference for a speech therapist that speaks Uk vs US English...

Send me a PM If you don't have any luck with via the Paediatrician, and I can ask around.

What is the mother tongue? What is the 'priority' language (the one they most need to be successful with) ?

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Old 16.01.2014, 08:18
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Re: Speech therapist with multilingual children experience in Basel or Zurich

Again, I don't have a recommendation, I mention the following because it is really helpful to have a therapist who understands multilingualism.

When our daughter saw a kindergarten supplied speech therapist, we had to point out that she was acquiring two languages - German through school, English at home. And while her vocabulary in German might be smaller than a Swiss child's, she should be measured on the total vocabulary.

When the speech therapist did this, her conclusion changed from "this child is struggling and needs to repeat" to "this child is above average intelligence". (It helped the therapist pay attention when my wife explained that she is a qualified teacher, specialising in early years).

Having said that, our daughter did need help in the way that she was speaking. Ten years later - we can't shut her up.

(All our kids were slow to talk, but very quick to walk. They're all fine now).
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Old 16.01.2014, 09:31
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Re: Speech therapist with multilingual children experience in Basel or Zurich

I am an Australian trained Speech Pathologist and native English speaker. I have mainly worked with adults but also have experience working with children. If you have concerns about your multilingual child, its important that they are assessed in all of their languages so that its a cumulative measure of their skills. In early language development, there are a number of factors which can influence the rate of language acquisition but exposure is certainly the biggest indicator as to whether there is an issue or just more time needed. Their languages won't all develop at the same time in the same way but if you have concerns, definitely follow them up because the research shows that early intervention is the most effective.

If you have any more questions, please let me know.
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Old 16.01.2014, 11:25
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Re: Speech therapist with multilingual children experience in Basel or Zurich

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When our daughter saw a kindergarten supplied speech therapist, we had to point out that she was acquiring two languages - German through school, English at home. And while her vocabulary in German might be smaller than a Swiss child's, she should be measured on the total vocabulary.

When the speech therapist did this, her conclusion changed from "this child is struggling and needs to repeat" to "this child is above average intelligence".
That's exactly our experience, too. My son has a huge vocabulary, most of which was pocketed away in the English side of his head. The school assessed the total ability, so we didn't have to prompt them to do it this way, and this pulled his result up substantially.

The vocabulary has now more or less evened out in both languages.

We have been really strict at keeping to our respective languages with him and we have discouraged him using a German word in an English sentence and vice versa.

The school is totally in agreement that this is the best way.

It's hard work but the results speak for themselves (in two languages even!)
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