Caregiver experiences with oral bilingualism (Benítez-Barrera et al., 2022)
Purpose: Best practices recommend promoting the use of the home language and allowing caregivers to choose the language(s) that they want to use with their child who is deaf or hard of hearing (DHH). We examined whether Spanish-speaking caregivers of children who are DHH receive professional recommendations on oral bilingualism that follow best practices. We also assessed whether professional recommendations, caregiver beliefs, and language practices had an impact on child language(s) proficiency.
Method: Sixty caregivers completed a questionnaire on demographic questions, language(s) use and recommendations, beliefs on bilingualism, and child language proficiency measures in English, Spanish, and American Sign Language (ASL). Professional recommendations on oral bilingualism were reported descriptively, and linear regression was used to identify the predictors of child language(s) proficiency.
Results: We found that only 23.3% of the caregivers were actively encouraged to raise their child orally bilingual. Language practices predicted child proficiency in each language (English, Spanish, and ASL), but professional recommendations and caregiver beliefs did not.
Conclusions: Our results revealed that most caregivers received recommendations that do not follow current best practices. Professional training is still needed to promote bilingualism and increase cultural competence when providing services to caregivers who speak languages different from English.
Supplemental Material S1. Survey items and response scoring.
Benítez-Barrera, C., Reiss, L., Majid, M., Chau, T., Wilson, J., Rico, E. F., Bunta, F., Raphael, R. M., & de Diego-Lázaro, B. (2022). Caregiver experiences with oral bilingualism in children who are deaf and hard of hearing in the United States: Impact on child language proficiency. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2022_LSHSS-22-00095