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research

Novel Morpheme Learning in Monolingual and Bilingual Children
This study evaluated the use of novel morpheme learning tasks for indexing typical language abilities in children from diverse backgrounds. Three groups of children, 5-6 years of age were tested. Groups consisted of monolingual English speakers, native speakers of Spanish who also spoke English, and native speakers of English who also spoke Spanish. All children were taught a new derivational morpheme /ku/. Results showed that all three groups of children learned the novel morpheme successfully and could generalize its use to untaught nouns. Language characteristics such as degree of expose and levels performance on standardized measures did not contribute to bilingual children’s learning outcomes.

Autism and Bilingualism: A Qualitative Interview Study of Parents' Perspectives and Experiences
This study researched how bilingual parents of children with autism may make different language exposure choices compared to bilingual parents of children without autism. Interviews were conducted with 17 bilingual parents with a child with autism and 18 bilingual parents with a typically developing child. The study found that in contrast with parents of a typically developing child, parents with a child with autism expressed concerns that a bilingual environment would cause confusion for their child and contribute to language delays. This was particularly common for parents of children with lower verbal ability.

False Belief Performance of Children Adopted Internationally
This study explored the relationship among adoption and individual and family variables on false belief performance of children adopted internationally. Thirty-five 4-year old children adopted from Asian and Eastern European countries before 2 years of age were compared with a group of 33 non-adopted 4-year-old children. A standardized English-language measure, 3 false belief tasks, and a go/no-go inhibition measure were used. Results showed that the adopted group differed significantly from the U.S. nonadopted group in expressive language and false belief performance.  For the adopted group, inhibition measures were significantly correlated with core language scores. Core language scores and number of older siblings predicted false belief performance.

The Composition of Early Vocabulary in Spanish Children With Down Syndrome and Their Peers With Typical Development
This study analyzed the composition of early vocabularies of Spanish-speaking children with Down syndrome and compared them to typically developing children. A total of 108 children with Down syndrome, and 108 children with typical development with mental ages between 8 and 29 months participated in the study. Each child was matched by productive vocabulary and gender. The MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories was used; nouns, predicates, closed-class words, and social words were examined. The study found that children with Down syndrome performed similar to that of children with typical development, when comparing vocabulary, but children with Down syndrome were producing more nouns. Researchers concluded that the strategies used by children with Down syndrome to learn vocabulary may be similar to those used by typically developing children in the first stages of language. 

A Framework for Crosslinguistic Non-word Repetition Tests: Effects of Bilingualism and Socioeconomic Status on Children’s Performance 
Non-word repetition techniques help distinguish language impairment from difficulties due to limited experience and knowledge of a language. This study examined the Crosslinguistic Non-word Repetition Framework, which was composed of 3 tests that mixed the phonological characteristics of non-words. The study contained 42 monolingual and bilingual children ages 4-7 years, with typical development and from mid-high and low SES households. Children were separated into monolingual and bilingual groups. Data collected indicated that both bilingualism and neighborhood SES affected receptive vocabulary, but no effects of bilingualism or neighborhood SES were found on two of the non-word repetition tasks. Researchers concluded the potential of new tests for assessing children, regardless of lingual or SES background. They also highlighted the importance of investigating the influence of bilingualism and SES on different language assessments.


The Home Literacy Environment and the English Narrative Development of Spanish–English Bilingual Children
This study examined the impact of  the home literacy environment on the English narrative development of Spanish-English bilingual children from low-income backgrounds. Longitudinal data was collected on 81 bilingual children from preschool through first grade. English narrative skills were assessed twice a year, and each fall mothers reported the frequency of literacy activities and number of children. Results showed the frequency with which mothers read to their children had a positive impact on the growth of children’s total Narrative Scoring Scheme scores.  The study demonstrates the importance of frequent book reading for overall narrative quality of children from Spanish-speaking homes who are learning English.


Adaptation of the Mac-Arthur Bates Communicative Development Inventories for Spanish Children With Down Syndrome: Validity and Reliability Data for Vocabulary
The Mac-Arthur Bates Communicative Development Inventories recently developed a Spanish version for Spanish-speaking children with Down syndrome, referred to as the CDI-Down. This study assessed the concurrent validity and test-retest reliability of the vocabulary section. The data collected indicated that the CDI-Down’s expressive and receptive vocabulary scores a significant positive relationship with the study’s comparison measures. It was concluded that the CDI-Down is a valid and reliable tool that can be useful for parents, teachers, clinicians, and researchers.


Hispanic Immigrant Mothers of Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: How Do They Understand and Cope with Autism?
This study looked at the experiences of Hispanic immigrant mothers raising children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The study researched three different aspects: (a) families’ social environments, (b) cultural beliefs on development and autism, and (c) perceptions of bilingualism influencing language choices. The study found that in addition to the challenges involved with raising a child with autism, Hispanic immigrant mothers were also challenged by immigration status, economic hardship, and advice against using Spanish with their children. It was concluded that immigrant families should be encouraged to communicate in home language with their family, and that more information needs to be dispersed throughout the Hispanic community.


The Role of Socioeconomic Status in the Narrative Story Retells of School-Aged English Language Learners
This study looked at the relationship between maternal level of education as an index of SES on the narrative story retells of school-aged children who are English language learners. The study compared the language samples of 907 ELL students in kindergarten and second grade. The results showed no differences in language measures between children from different SES backgrounds for the Spanish samples, but there were differences with the English language samples.


Assessing the Reliability and Use of the Expository Scoring Scheme as a Measure of Developmental Change in Monolingual English and Bilingual French/English Children
This study used the Expository Scoring Scheme (ESS), which was used to analyze the macrostructure of descriptions of a favorite game or sport. An interrater and intrarater reliability of the ESS and use of the scale to capture developmental change in elementary school children was used in the study. Twenty-four children in two age groups (7-8 years, 11-12 years) were separated into two language groups (monolingual English and bilingual French/English). The participants were required to orally explain their favorite game/sport in English. The study found that interrater and intrarater reliability was high for the total ESS score but not for all ESS components. Few differences were found in the macrostructure components across language groups.