Dual Diagnosis Thank you for the article “When the Diagnosis is Dual” in the Feb. 14, 2012, issue. However, it concerned me to see bilingualism characterized as an “unusual circumstance.” This classification was emphasized by the title and the subtitles, “Case One +Tourette Syndrome,” “Case Two +ASD,” “Case Three +ADHD,” “Case Four ... Inbox
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Inbox  |   April 01, 2012
Dual Diagnosis
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Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Inbox
Inbox   |   April 01, 2012
Dual Diagnosis
The ASHA Leader, April 2012, Vol. 17, 2. doi:10.1044/leader.IN1.17042012.2
The ASHA Leader, April 2012, Vol. 17, 2. doi:10.1044/leader.IN1.17042012.2
Thank you for the article “When the Diagnosis is Dual” in the Feb. 14, 2012, issue. However, it concerned me to see bilingualism characterized as an “unusual circumstance.” This classification was emphasized by the title and the subtitles, “Case One +Tourette Syndrome,” “Case Two +ASD,” “Case Three +ADHD,” “Case Four +Bilingualism,” and “Case Five +Phonological Disorder.” These headings appeared to list bilingualism as another disorder, similar to the ones listed above, viewing it as an obstacle, and perpetuating the myth that bilingualism may hinder language development.
As a practicing bilingual speech-language pathologist whose entire caseload consists of bilingual preschoolers and families, I see this as an unfortunate classification. In a country where immigration continues to grow, bilingualism/biculturalism should be a part of our overall clinical training and not a specialty, as many of us will encounter this population throughout our practice. Looking at bilingualism as an “unusual circumstance” inappropriately represents it as a phenomenon when it is part of our innate ability as human beings to acquire different linguistic systems, and is quite common in most parts of the world. My concern is that in viewing bilingualism from the above perspective, we are, in turn, inadvertently alienating the clients and families we seek to serve.
Overall, I was happy to see attention called to this issue, as it brought awareness to bilingualism and emphasized the importance of evidence-based practice, which clinicians should rely upon when making recommendations to multicultural families.
Ruth Carpio Queens Village, New York
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April 2012
Volume 17, Issue 4