Implications of First Nations English dialects for supporting children’s language development




Ball, Jessica
Bernhardt, Barbara
Deby, Jeff

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This project addresses growing concern in Aboriginal Early Childhood Care and Development (AECCD) and in education that there is a lack of knowledge about culturally appropriate milestones to inform programs of support, screening, and early intervention for First Nations children’s English language development. Some child care practitioners, educators, speech language pathologists, and First Nations leaders suggest that First Nations children may be disproportionately misdiagnosed with language impairments. There is speculation that this problem may be due in part to dialect difference rather than speech-language deficit or delay. Language and learning problems may be exacerbated by a mismatch in the communicative norms valued at home and at school.


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This paper was prepared for a presentation at the World Indigenous Peoples’ Conference on Education held at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, Aotearoa/New Zealand, November 27-December 1, 2005.