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We present the case study of MB—a bilingual child with Down syndrome (DS) whospeaks Russian (first language [L1]) and English (second language [L2]) and has learnedto read in two different alphabets with different symbol systems. We demonstratethat, in terms of oral language, MB is as proficient in Russian as English, with amild advantage for reading in English, her language of formal instruction. MB’s L1abilities were compared with those of 11 Russian-speaking typically developing mono-linguals and her L2 abilities to those of 15 English-speaking typically developing mono-linguals and six monolingual English-speaking children with DS; each group achievingthe same level of word reading ability as MB. We conclude that learning two languages in the presence of a learning difficulty need have no detrimental effect on either a child’slanguage or literacy development.


School of Psychology

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Journal Article

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