Multilingual Children with Special Needs in Early Education

Living reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


Today, more than half of the world’s children are raised multilingual, which poses diagnostic and interventional dilemmas to providers for children with special needs. This chapter discusses issues related to multilingual language assessment and intervention in early education. According to the best practice guidelines of professional bodies, multilingual children with special needs should be diagnosed and receive intervention in all languages the child speaks. Importantly, empirical research consistently demonstrates that multilingualism is not a burden for children with special needs. There is no empirical evidence that children with developmental disorders cannot become multilingual. Multilingual children with developmental disorders can acquire two languages, following their own trajectory of language development. This chapter gives the reader a complete picture of potential ways to implement these approaches in early education for multilingual children with special needs. The chapter ends with suggestions for future directions for research and education, focusing on the relationship between the child’s educational needs, the family’s needs, and the languages that are part of his/her life.


Multilingualism Special needs Early education Developmental language disorder (DLD) Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) Hearing impairment Intellectual developmental disorder Assessment Intervention 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Communication Sciences and DisordersUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael
  2. 2.Department of English Literature and Linguistics, The Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research CenterBar-Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael

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