Role of Language in Multilingual Children with Suspected Dyslexia: A Pilot Study

To evaluate language profiles, Limited English
Proficiency and Primary Language Disorders in
multilingual suspected dyslexics. Methods: A crosssectional
was conducted in a tertiary care hospital at
Mumbai. The sample consisted of 46 participants aged
8-13 years. Performances of children were compared
using the Linguistic Profile Test and Dyslexia
Assessment for Languages of India (DALI).
Nonparametric statistics were carried out to assess the
data. Results: It was found that the dyslexics had
affection in semantics and literacy domain, but LEP
cases had poor phonological awareness and PLD group
closely mimicked the SLD group in overall test
performance. In linguistic profile test, delayed
language was found in Group 3. This study highlights
the fact that in order to characterize SLD in
multilingual societies it is important to assess the child
in all languages familiar to them. Keywords: Language
• Specific learning disorder • Multilingualism
Children with Primary Language Disorders such as
receptive, expressive or both struggle with the form,
content, or function of language ,and their childhood
prevalence is estimated at 4-13%. They have a core
deficit in areas of listening or speaking and have
associated problems such as in reading, writing and
social skills. In multilingual countries like India with a
complex language environment, assessment of
language disorders is a formidable task. In a typical
language developmental profile, children acquire
Language Proficiency in their Native Language first
and later acquire skills in instructional languages such
as english). Typically second language acquisition in
English Language Learners can take 5-7 years to
develop proficiency. The process for understanding
whether a child’s learning difficulties are due to the
developmental pattern of english language acquisition,
limited school opportunity rather than a Specific
Learning Disorder is not well understood by teachers.
Children acquiring english often display similar
characteristics to those with an SLD.
Specific Learning Disorders (SLD) refers to a deficit
in neural-processing of basic processes involved in
understanding or using spoken or writing languages
that manifests in in the skills of reading, writing,
mathematical concepts, organization, long and short
term memory. Prevalence of SLD is 5-10% among
children in India. SLD encompasses dyslexia,
dysgraphia and dyscalculia, with dyslexia (inability to
skilled reading) being the most common prototype
with a prevalence of 3% to 10% among Indian
children. Inclusion of SLD in the RPWD Act 2016 has
created awareness among parents, a felt need among
teachers for the need of early identification of children
at risk for SLD. However in India, there is lack of
standardized tests in regional languages to assess
linguistic proficiency, language disorders and specific
learning disorders. The purpose of this study was to
assess the language profiles and comorbidities in
multilingual children with suspected dyslexia. To
analyses the data, inferential statistics used were
one-way ANOVA and pearson correlation. The
findings indicate a plethora of conclusions which
are as following. Findings from this study show
the following. Firstly, the confusion between
second language acquisition, its proficiency,
primary language disorders and learning
disorders is a ground reality and leads to over
referrals and uncalled stress to children and
This work is partly presented at 32nd World Congress on Neurology and Neuroscience November 9-10, 2020
Extended Abstract
Vol. 3, Iss.3
Journal of Psychology and Brain Studies
parents. Secondly, CBA cluster scores on WJ as
well as its qualitative input are important to
obtain a definitive diagnosis of Specific Learning
Disorder (SLD) and raise a suspicion of possible
SLD mimic. Thirdly, DALI-iLAB assessments in two
languages are able to differentiate children of
Limited English Proficiency from suspected
dyslexics and red flags concerns for a learning or
primary language disorder.
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Author(s): Gajre Mona P

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