Young children with and without disabilities who are bilingual or in the process of learning multiple languages have many strengths; however, educational policies and bias related to bilingualism for children from linguistically minoritized groups have typically included deficit-based views. The purpose of this systematic review was to identify how researchers describe these children and their caregivers. Thirty research studies were included in the review. Each study was published in Infants and Young Children, Journal of Early Intervention, or Topics in Early Childhood Special Education between 1988 and 2020. Studies were coded to determine participant characteristics and whether deficit- or strength-based descriptions of participants were used. Although researchers’ descriptions of participants’ linguistic backgrounds varied, most were English-centric, and deficit-based descriptions of bilingualism were more prevalent than strength-based descriptions. Preliminary recommendations are provided for describing children and families from linguistically minoritized communities and including strength-based language in research and practice.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by Grant R324B180004 from the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, awarded to the University of Kansas.
© Hammill Institute on Disabilities 2021.
- children with disabilities
- cultural diversity
- early childhood