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Am J Speech Lang Pathol. 2011 Nov;20(4):302-14. doi: 10.1044/1058-0360(2011/10-0020). Epub 2011 Aug 5.

Risk for poor performance on a language screening measure for bilingual preschoolers and kindergarteners.

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  • 1University of Texas at Austin, USA.



This study documents the risk for language impairment in Latino children who had different levels of exposure to English and Spanish.


A total of 1,029 preschool- and kindergarten-age children were screened in the domains of semantics and morphosyntax in both Spanish and English. Parent report was used to document current exposure to and use of Spanish and English, as well as year of first exposure to English. Risk for language impairment was compared for language group, year of first English exposure, age, and mother's education.


While bilingual children's scores on each subtest were significantly lower compared to their functional monolingual peers, they were no more likely to fall in the at-risk range based on a combination of all 4 subtests. Maternal education and year of first English exposure were weakly associated with risk for language impairment but not with language group (via 5 levels of first and second language exposure).


Prevalence of risk for language impairment when both languages are tested is not related to language group.

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