Research Article  |   February 2012
Predictors of Second Language Acquisition in Latino Children With Specific Language Impairment
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Vera Gutiérrez-Clellen
    San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
  • Gabriela Simon-Cereijido
    California State University, Los Angeles
  • Monica Sweet
    University of California, San Diego
  • Correspondence to Vera Gutiérrez-Clellen: vclellen@mail.sdsu.edu
  • Editor: Marilyn Nippold (Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools)
    Editor: Marilyn Nippold (Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools)×
  • Associate Editor: Barbara Rodríguez
    Associate Editor: Barbara Rodríguez×
Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Research Article
Research Article   |   February 2012
Predictors of Second Language Acquisition in Latino Children With Specific Language Impairment
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology February 2012, Vol.21, 64-77. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2011/10-0090)
History: Accepted 08 Nov 2011 , Received 27 Oct 2010
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology February 2012, Vol.21, 64-77. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2011/10-0090)
History: Accepted 08 Nov 2011 , Received 27 Oct 2010

Purpose: This study evaluated the extent to which the language of intervention, the child’s development in Spanish, and the effects of English vocabulary, use, proficiency, and exposure predict differences in the rates of acquisition of English in Latino children with specific language impairment (SLI).

Method: In this randomized controlled trial, 188 Latino preschoolers with SLI participated in a small-group academic enrichment program for 12 weeks and were followed up 3 and 5 months later. Children were randomly assigned to either a bilingual or an English-only program. Predictors of English growth included measures of Spanish language skills and English vocabulary, use, proficiency, and exposure. Performance on English outcomes (i.e., picture description and narrative sample) was assessed over time. A series of longitudinal models were tested via multilevel modeling with baseline and posttreatment measures nested within child.

Results: Children demonstrated growth on the English outcomes over time. The language of intervention, Spanish skills, English vocabulary, and English use significantly predicted differences in rates of growth across children for specific measures of English development.

Conclusions: This study underscores the role of the child’s first language skills, the child’s level of English vocabulary development, and level of English use for predicting differences in English acquisition in Latino preschoolers with SLI. These factors should be carefully considered in making clinical decisions.

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