Title: 'Parents and Clinicians Together: Creating Responsive Language Environments for Acquisition of Two (or more) Languages'
Track: 3 - Language Acquisition and Development
Keyword(s): language development, parents, social/emotional
Learning Objectives:
  1. Discuss considerations that contribute to acquisition of two languages for young deaf and hard of hearing children.
  2. Describe parameters for creating optimal access to responsive language modeling for both a family’s native language and English.
  3. Develop a plan for exploring and expanding strategies for clinicians’ partnerships with parents to support development of both the language of the home and English for individual families and within early intervention programming.


The number of families in the United States who utilize two languages is increasing; families are committing to maintaining the language of their home, and also to supporting their children’s acquisition of English, with emphasis on communication skills for interaction in their school and community. With effective implementation of the EDHI goals of early identification and early intervention, deaf and hard of hearing babies and toddlers can have the same advantage as their hearing counterparts in acquiring both the language of their home and English. Acquisition of both languages supports social-emotional health by building family relationships through communication; and supports school readiness through establishing a solid language foundation for social and academic success in English-speaking school programs. Due to the variety of languages spoken by families in the United States, there are an insufficient number of clinicians and early intervention providers fluent in both English and many other languages. To meet this challenge, clinicians can partner with parents to create accessible language environments that provide opportunities for responsive language modeling in the family’s native language and in English. Factors that influence a child’s ability to successfully acquire two languages include the child’s intellectual potential, the parents’ fluency in both languages, and optimal access to responsive language modeling in both languages. Other considerations include development of metalinguistic awareness and cultural expectations regarding pragmatic language within parent-child interactions. Strategies have been established through clinical experience, for clinicians partnering with parents to support acquisition of the child’s native language and English. These strategies stem from responsive language modeling techniques and include: community-based interactions, 'parent as interpreter,’ dedicated language modeling, and an environment adapted for code-switching. There is a need for further investigation and discussion, particularly in the area of assessment; and for generalization of effective strategies with a greater number of families.
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Denise Eng - POC,Primary Presenter,Author
Children's Hospital Boston
     Credentials: Denise Fournier Eng, MA, CCC-SLP Speech-Language Pathologist
      Denise Fournier Eng Denise Fournier Eng, MA, CCC-SLP, a contributing author for this resource, is a speech-language clinician with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program of Boston Children’s Hospital and a member of the hospital’s Cochlear Implant Team. Mrs. Eng has worked in private school programs for deaf and hard of hearing children, public school settings, and in early intervention. She has taught in the deaf education master’s degree program at Boston University and at Framingham State College and Emerson College. Mrs. Eng has coordinated several partnerships in the community and with museums to support accessible opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing children and their families, created parent education programming and in-service training programs for public school personnel, and presented at numerous regional and national conferences.

Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.