After ten years practicing speech therapy with children having language impairment or hearing loss, I am now doing a PhD about hearing loss and bilingualism.
In many countries, the proportion of bilingual children is increasing, becoming more the norm than the exception. When working with these children, it is a challenge to distinguish the typical effects of bilingualism from a speech disorder, especially if the child has a condition such as hearing loss. The differential diagnosis of a speech disorder and the selection of appropriate intervention goals are based on the key step of speech assessment. Speech therapy is a profession of practices that are essentially based on studies with mainstream populations. Therefore, current assessment practices are not adapted to the diversity observed among children and to languages other than English. This PhD thesis focuses on how to assess in French the speech accuracy of bilingual children: children whose home language is not French and the particular case of children with hearing loss who have cochlear implant (and who develop two phonological systems based on degraded signal). We aim to 1) compare the relevance of different tools and methods to assess bilingual children’s speech accuracy: norm-referenced method or criteria-referenced method; 2) provide data on speech development in French and 3) contribute to describe the profile of bilingual children with cochlear implants.