Difference or Disorder?: Language Development in English Language Learners


Course Type: Video – 2 hours

ASHA Course Code: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Education, Training, Service Delivery, Public Policy – 7030

Successfully separate language differences caused by second language influence from true disorder.  Learn about language structures that are affected by bilingualism as well as developmental errors, cross-linguistic errors, and atypical errors. By understanding how language structures vary and can influence one another, an SLP can make a more informed decision when determining whether a bilingual child is presenting with a language difference or a language disorder.

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Additional Information


Early Childhood, School Age


Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI), Exp/Rec Language


2 hours


.2 Continuing Education Units



Financial Disclosure: Ellen Kester, Ph.D., CCC-SLP. Dr. Ellen Kester is the owner of Bilinguistics and receives a salary. Bilinguistics receives royalty payments for online courses.

Non-Financial Disclosure: Ellen Kester does not have any non-financial relationships to disclose.

Financial Disclosure: Scott Prath, M.A., CCC-SLP is a salaried employee of Bilinguistics. Bilinguistics receives royalty payments for online courses.

Non-Financial Disclosure: Scott Prath does not have any non-financial relationships to disclose.

This course discussed bilingual development and highlighted the similarities and differences between the two languages. The goal of the course was to build clinical judgment so that Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) are better able to evaluate, treat, and make decisions about children from culturally and linguistically diverse populations.

Participants will:

Understand the need for all SLPs to have CLD training
Describe a framework for categorizing difference and disorder
List three types of errors that children learning two languages can make
Identify similarities and differences in typical monolingual and bilingual language development
Understand developmental errors, cross-linguistic errors, and atypical errors
Describe language structures that are subject to second language influence in second language learners
Time-ordered agenda:
05 minutes: Introduction and course plan
30 minutes: Demographics of the field and the need for understanding diversity
30 minutes: The framework for difference vs. disorder
20 minutes: Differentiating errors that are typical from those that are atypical
30 minutes: Language structures and how they are impacted by influence from another language
05 minutes: Summary

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