se condividi i nostri obiettivi, sostienici !!!!!

Interview with Elena Giordano, Italian speech therapist, resident in Luxembourg

 

Interview with Elena Giordano, Italian speech therapist, graduated from the University of Florence, resident in Luxembourg

 

Dr. Giordano, why do people address a speech therapist?

The speech therapist is the language expert. He/she is a health worker who deals with the prevention, assessment and treatment of diseases of the voice, the spoken and written language and communication disabilities in children and adolescents, adults and the elderly. The speech therapy is useful in case of disorders affecting the articulation (dislalie, dysarthria), phonation (dysphonia), swallowing (dysphagia and atypical swallowing), the verbal fluency (stuttering), the aphasias, the sensory deafness , learning disorders (dyslexia, dysorthography, dyscalculia), language delays and language disorders, social behavior disorders (autistic syndromes, mental retardation). 

An early intervention is one of the indexes that contribute to the success of therapy in the short and long term. It 's important, especially in childhood, not to hesitate to consult your pediatrician or a specialist, for example in case of delay in the onset of speech or difficulty in understanding what the child says (unintelligibility of speech). It will be the doctor (child psychiatrist, pediatrician, neurologist, speech therapist ...) that performs the diagnosis by prescribing logopedic advice for further evaluation and possible treatment.

Since we deal with bilingualism, we would like to know if studies have ever shown a greater susceptibility of  bi-multilingual children to a particular problem compared to monolinguals.

In general, the origin of a speech disorder or a learning disorder must be assumed at the level of the individual genetic program of each person. The environment plays of course a crucial role with regard to the expression of the disease, but cannot by itself cause the appearance of it. The condition of bi-multilingualism is the result of a particular environmental situation in which, thanks to the innate faculty of language that every individual has, it is possible to learn more linguistic codes at the same time.

According to several studies, this condition can lead not only to social and professional advantages, but it was also seen that the bilingual subjects have greater capacity of reasoning and abstraction on language. Therefore, in my opinion, any delay in the onset of first words and learning the written code in multilingual children are to be interpreted as the normal inter-individual variation that always appears in childhood. Special consideration must still be paid to situations where, for example, diagnosed cases of delayed language are already present in the family, or in cases where there is no language evolution in a few months time.

Particularly, in cases of difficulty in learning to read and write it is important to consider the closeness between the languages, if the child is learning both codes simultaneously, if the level of exposure is homogeneous, the emotional bond with one and the other language ... etc.. and only then try to define whether it is a real disorder or a temporary difficulty caused by the environment.

 

What is exactly meant with dyslexia, dysgraphia, etc..?

To better understand it, I believe we must have some technical information. The term "dyslexia" is commonly used to indicate a disturbance at the level of reading, writing and calculation, because they often occur in combination. More precisely, we speak respectively of dyslexia,  dysorthography (and dysgraphia) and dyscalculia generally classified as Specific Learning Disorders, or SLD.

Dyslexia is a disability characterized by specific neurobiological origin, characterized by a difficulty in performing a fluent and accurate reading with typical errors, resulting, in most cases, by a deficit at phonological or visual-spatial-attentional level.

 The dysorthography has the same characteristics at the level of writing, the errors occur in the phonological structure of words and spelling rules.

 

How does a speech therapist intervene?

The quality of performance has little to do with the intellectual capacity of the subject and the disorder has specific characteristics: it is innate, durable and resistant to the therapeutic automation. The specific problem of learning occurs in mild, medium or severe form, and therefore the treatment and prognosis will be different and it is therefore crucial to early distinguish on a specific disorder from a temporary difficulty. The speech therapist, using standardized tests, is able to perform a functional assessment in the second grade of primary school, age at which it is also recommended to start any treatment.

The methods of intervention and treatment goals vary depending on the individual characteristics of the disorder. In general, it aims to make the child independent in his education by suggesting strategies and compensatory measures.

 

Returning to bilingualism, dyslexia can be supported by specific combinations of languages ​​or a specific language rather than another one?

As I mentioned before, bilingualism cannot be regarded as a cause of disturbances at the level of skills of reading and writing, as the very definition of a specific disorder of learning emphasizes the neurobiological origins, while the bilingual condition has environmental characteristics.

That said, it is possible that in those predisposed to such disorders the condition of multilingualism is a potential disadvantage because of the difference between the orthographic and phonological rules of the codes. In general, the more the two languages ​​are far apart in terms of roots, alphabet and phonology, the more considerations the child will have to make.

For example, a bilingual child Italian -English who is beginning to read and write in both languages ​​will immediately notice that he/she can encode (and hear, and then write) the Italian words with a high probability of correctness, but not as easily the English words. Italian is, in fact, a language with transparent orthography, that is to say, a grapheme corresponds to each phoneme (with a few exceptions), while English has a so called mat spell, where no clear rules exist to predict the corresponding sound-sign.

Italian children with few spelling rules can learn how to write spontaneously, but English children must memorize words in their writing form.

Hence the errors will have different characteristics, depending on the language both in normal and disease situations. Comparing the profiles of dyslexic English and Italian children we have seen that the former are slow readers, but essentially correct, while the latter commit many more mistakes within the same functional framework.

The characteristics of the language may be due to teething problems, but a specific disorder manifests itself independently.

 

What are the pronunciation problems that occur more frequently in bilingual children than in their monolingual peers?

As from his birth, a child is able to discriminate, that means, to recognize many different speech sounds. From 6 months onwards, the baby starts to recognize the phonemes of the language which he/she is exposed to, those ones that will be useful to understand and produce words in one or more tongues. He/she will put in place mechanisms for alignment of the distinctive sounds and for the attenuation or loss of non-distinctive words that belong to other languages, creating precise phonetic categories.

 

What happens to the “a”

Concrete example will perhaps make the concept more clearly: the phoneme / a / in Italian always corresponds to grapheme "A" and vice versa in other languages ​​such as English, the grapheme "A" correspond more phonemes / æ / in bat, / ɔ / in paw, / ə / in Rosa's, / ɛə / in the fair, / eɪ / in blade. Here, told in plain English, an English child is also sensitive to minor variations in pronunciation of the grapheme "A" compared to an Italian child.

 

What happens to the "r"

You can easily verify that, the more the sounds of a new language are different from those of our mother tongue, the harder it will be to reproduce them properly, because they do not fall into the phonetic categories we have created in early childhood. It 's a psycholinguistic fact, but also a practical one: For an Italian who has always pronounced the grapheme "R" by vibrating the tongue apex it is initially difficult to understand how to produce the same grapheme, but in French, that is to say, using the base of the tongue.

A simultaneous bilingual child, that is, who has been exposed from the earliest months of his life to multiple languages, should theoretically not be confronted with special pronunciation difficulties in these languages. In reality - and the parents of bilingual children who read this article will confirm or deny it - this depends very much on the homogeneity of exposure. A simultaneous bilingual child Italian-French, for instance, who has always attended a French school, may have problems with the famous Italian "R", even if he/she speaks Italian at home with his/her mother. Unfortunately and fortunately at the same time, talking about childhood and language, it is impossible to say with confidence how a specific situation will evolve, there are too many differences between individuals and environmental factors

It 's really hard to find cases of perfectly balanced bilingualism at all linguistic levels, the norm is that there is a dominance, a language that is more represented than others.

 

The accents

I would like to emphasize at this point that pronunciation problems obviously influenced by the first language are definitely not to be considered as pathological, the y are not psycholinguistic disorders which a speech therapy is strictly needed for. The famous "accents", in my opinion, reflect the history of each person and the only way to make them fade is to increase exposure, and to practice the language or languages ​​you want to improve.

In isolated cases of speech defects, such as even the "R" or a nasal "A" you can carry on targeted work with a speech therapist that addresses the subject’s awareness of how to articulate that particular phoneme. The difficult is then to make automatic what has been learned in theory! And here again the practice is the only teacher. The speech therapist may be a reference point to emphasize in theory and in practice the articulation differences  but the time needed to reach the automated system is very subjective.

 

Can it be said that a bilingual child who speaks without an accent will never have an accent in that language? If a child has a marked accent instead, to what extent can he/she recover a pure Italian accent?

The phonetics and phonology of a language are the most complex to learn, these in fact (as we mentioned before) were the very first information that the infant learns to perceive and categorize. They are therefore the most intimate features of the language that are absorbed in the first total unawareness of the meaning or the grammatical structure.

Certainly there are rules that make it possible to learn in adolescence or adulthood, but the process is longer and, above all, to aspire to a native speaker pronunciation a immersion is required total in the social context of that language. So a multilingual simultaneous child has everything he needs to speak all the languages ​​that he has been exposed to without a foreign accent.

That said, it is still the environment that has the last word; the  predominant language in grammar, phonology, in the manner of speaking, is usually the one in which you have been exposed to and that you use most. I think I can say with some certainty that a child's language dominance is the language of schooling and therefore all the accents and errors in general will be fading with the growth and experimentation in the world. Provided there is adequate motivation and exposure!

Therefore we are not able to express a general rule with regard to childhood. A foreign accent can potentially appear and disappear depending on many variables, first of all the features of the language environment. The tendency is that the accent of the mother tongue is naturally rooted and strong.

 

Language is not just a collection of sounds and grammatical rules, but involves deeper emotional spheres of each.

 

With this meaningful phrase I thank Dr Elena Giordano for granting us this interview and I remind you that anyone who wishes to contact her for advice in Luxembourg can do so by e-mail:

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Comments  

 
0 #19 AntoinetteSmall 2018-01-20 11:18
I have checked your page and i have found some duplicate
content, that's why you don't rank high in google,
but there is a tool that can help you to create 100% unique content, search for: Boorfe's tips unlimited content
Quote
 
 
0 #18 AlenaSmall 2018-01-17 18:26
I have checked your blog and i've found some duplicate content, that's why
you don't rank high in google, but there is a tool that can help you to create 100% unique articles, search for:
Boorfe's tips unlimited content
Quote
 
 
0 #17 Jesus 2017-12-30 16:07
You should take part in a contest for one of the best
websites on the net. I will recommend this website!
Quote
 
 
0 #16 TishaSmall 2017-12-24 01:23
I have checked your site and i've found some duplicate content, that's
why you don't rank high in google, but there is a tool that
can help you to create 100% unique content, search for: Boorfe's tips
unlimited content
Quote
 
 
0 #15 FirstLilly 2017-12-03 21:33
I have noticed you don't monetize your blog, don't waste your traffic, you can earn additional cash every month
because you've got hi quality content. If you want to know how to make extra $$$, search for: Boorfe's tips best
adsense alternative
Quote
 
 
0 #14 RichardSmall 2017-11-27 07:23
I have checked your website and i have found some duplicate
content, that's why you don't rank high in google,
but there is a tool that can help you to create 100% unique content, search for; Boorfe's tips
unlimited content
Quote
 
 
0 #13 SamualSmall 2017-11-26 19:13
I have checked your blog and i have found some duplicate content,
that's why you don't rank high in google's search results, but there is a tool
that can help you to create 100% unique articles, search for; Boorfe's tips unlimited content
Quote
 
 
0 #12 FirstCaroline 2017-11-25 04:39
I see you don't monetize your blog, don't waste your traffic, you can earn extra cash every month because you've got hi quality content.

If you want to know how to make extra $$$, search for:
Boorfe's tips best adsense alternative
Quote
 
 
0 #11 FirstAkilah 2017-11-23 20:51
I see you don't monetize your blog, don't waste your traffic, you can earn additional cash every
month because you've got hi quality content.
If you want to know how to make extra bucks, search for: Boorfe's tips best
adsense alternative
Quote
 
 
0 #10 FirstElaine 2017-11-23 11:15
I see you don't monetize your website, don't waste your traffic, you can earn extra cash
every month because you've got hi quality content. If
you want to know how to make extra money,
search for: Boorfe's tips best adsense alternative
Quote
 

Add comment

Sono benvenuti commenti in inglese, francese, tedesco, spagnolo, portoghese, olandese, svedese!
Comments in English, French, German, Spanish, Portugues,Dutch and Swedish are welcome!


Security code
Refresh

   
| Thursday, 27. February 2020 || Joomla || Web Agency: Dazo.it Template: LernVid.com |