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Tri Lingualism and Speech Delay

  1. #17
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    Sep 2004
    Sai Kung

    i'm sorry that your son is showing some autistic features.

    these features however are not caused by using 2 languages at home.

    it is also a different situation for children with these features to try to learn two languages. i do know some children with these features that CAN speak and understand 2 or 3 languages, but their speech was VERY delayed. They didn't start speaking until they were about 4 years old. Their mastery of their mother tongue is far superior to their skills in their second and third languages, but they are able to converse quite well in all three languages. the child that i'm referring to is very highly-functioning on the autistic spectrum. and is now in a regular ESF school with only 1 learning support class per week.

    good luck with your son!

  2. #18
    ck123 is offline Registered User
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    May 2006

    Thanks carang.

    After he was 20 months, we decided to switch to 1 language only and he has shown positive progress. All the autistic features disappeared. He is a little chatter box now although he could not say long sentense yet. He is a happy boy, always wants to go out, especially show interest in interaction with other children of same age. We are happy too. I'm thinking about should I introduce the second language again, this 2nd language is my mother tongue, and English (the language of my son now) is my hubby's first languge.

  3. #19
    bbsmum is offline Registered User
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    Aug 2006

    hi there, very interesting to read this thread. I have been through the same experience as many of the parents here, with trying to teach my son cantonese and english at the same time. DS used to spend a lot of time with grandparents and spoke fluent cantonese. I was worried that his English may be delayed but now he started preschool, he speaks English fluently. Actually I have noticed that he is starting to lose the chinese. Hubby always tries to remind me to speak to him in chinese.
    My questions for those in HK (who may have access to more material in chinese preschool education): are there any good chinese storybook and DVD, other than the disney-based ones? It's so much easily to find good story books in english - DS loves to read and we spend a great deal of our bedtime routine reading. I would love to introduce a few chinese books but never come across any. Is there anything I can buy online?

  4. #20
    Linda&Hanley is offline Registered User
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    May 2004
    HK Island

    I would recommend the 'I Can Read Myself' series published by Greenfield. The stories are very simple but interesting. I've been using them with my own children and also in my playgroups. Purchase can be made online (, but I'm not sure if they accept overseas order.

    There're also simple story books ('My First Chinese Words' series)published by Better Chinese ( These books are used in some international schools as supplementary reading materials and there's a computer disc that goes with them.


  5. #21
    muffkitt's Avatar
    muffkitt is offline Registered User
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    Jan 2007
    Hong Kong

    My boy couldn't say many words at 24 months and we had his hearing tested (it was fine), and then had been assessed by a speech therapist. It was found that he was delayed in speech by about 1 year and so he started sessions.

    He was walking as early as 9 months and without aid by 10 months. He is about 3.5 years now and has improved but I think he is still somewhat behind. Many a times I think parents tend to worry too much and people have always said boys are slower than girls in speech, and they are 95% of the time correct. But there are times when you just have that gut feeling and this is when you should have your child tested. It's better to address any problem early. If all is fine, the there's no worries.

  6. #22
    lynn cheung is offline Registered User
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    Oct 2004
    Tsuen Wan

    I think speech delay is not caused by learning more than 1 language.

    I know some children who are learning ONE language only:
    a cousin's friend's son doesn't talk till he is over 3 years old
    my husband's nephew doesn't even talk till now and he's already 2 years old
    my nephew doesn't talk till he's over 2.5 years old
    my niece doesn't talk till she's over 1.5 years old.

    So if everything's ok, don't worry. Keep on talking to your child.

  7. #23
    paul prengel's Avatar
    paul prengel is offline Registered User
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    Sep 2007



    Tri-Lingualism - what a word - enough to scare off any kid

    seriously - my first 3 kids were raised bi-lingual German-English no problems, all are doing fine, the youngest first went to US schools, in 2nd grade we received the national test results and she came in in the bottom 10th percentile - a big scare for us as we could not detect any intellectual deficiencies. We transferred her to a German elementary school. Later she had straight A's throughout high school and college both in the US and is now in her last year of med school.

    My newest child is 22 months and just now is learning some words like apple and banana only yesterday. He is being raised tri-lingual (English-German, Chinese). He did say by by at about 14 months and he has his very own language as he babbles his own words all the time. Physically he is tops and has great control of his body -except going potty yet.

    Babys learn at their own pace, some early some late. The more a parent sees that as a problem the more that is a problem -for the child. To consult a speech therapist for a 20 month old seems to be overdoing it - pity the child for any other perceived problem he/she might have. The best parents are no guarantee for a happy kid. Kids are tough - they survive all kinds kind of parents - my kids survived even my parenting.



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