New research conducted by Bangor University has revealed that bilingualism is not a problem for children with Down syndrome.
In the first study of its kind in the United Kingdom, researchers examined language in Welsh-English bilingual children with Down syndrome and found no evidence of additional difficulties compared to monolinguals.
The findings dispel the myth that exposure to two languages may cause problems for children with Down syndrome.
Dr Rebecca Ward said: "It is really exciting to be able to share these positive research findings. Hopefully this can lead to a move towards a more inclusive approach when it comes to bilingualism, and will affirm families’ decisions to pursue bilingualism even if faced with hesitancy from others."
The study was published in the Journal of Communication Disorders.
Dr Eirini Sanoudaki, Senior Lecturer in Linguistics, who led the project, explained:
"It is a privilege to pioneer this field of research, and to make a real impact in people’s lives. Families and health professionals were previously unsure due to absence of evidence about bilingualism. I have been receiving messages from Wales and across the world asking for advice; these positive results will provide some of the certainty needed."
"Researchers compared a group of bilingual children with Down syndrome to a group of English monolinguals, and found comparable performance in English, as well as considerable skills in Welsh.