Skip the 2nd Language: Language impairments and 2nd languages

I have wondered about the practice of saying that language disabled students cannot learn a foreign language. Middle schools and high schools routinely release language disabled students from the requirements of a second language which is a prerequisite for admission to many colleges. Although I have been a part of  the teams that have dismissed students from this requirements  I have also had the privilege of having students tell me that they loved learning a second language.  So I’m not sure if there is one answer for all.

It is true that difficulties in the  first language will often show up in the acquisition of the second. Also more often then not the native language sound system often impacts the second language.  Maybe however, whether you can speak well is not the point. I think their are so many ways to look at this issue that I have come to the conclusion that the best way to make a recommendation regarding second language for a language impaired student is to take a  very close look at each and every situation and judge them individually.

This article speaks about the benefits of bilingualism. Should language disabled students miss out on the benefits of being able to communicate in a globalized world?  What has your experience been with bilingualism and language-based learning disorders?

Published by Kai Long

Kai currently lives in MA and is interested in collaborating with others to develop a deeper understanding of our speech and language needs.