Intervention with linguistically diverse preschool children: A focus on developing home language(s)

Kathryn Kohnert, Dongsun Yim, Kelly Nett, Pui Fong Kan, Lillian Duran

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

141 Scopus citations


Purpose: This article addresses a series of questions that are critical to planning and implementing effective intervention programs for young linguistically diverse learners with primary language impairment (L1). Linguistically diverse learners in the United States include children whose families speak languages such as Spanish, Korean, Cantonese, Hmong, Vietnamese, or any language other than, or in addition to, English. Method: A narrative review of the relevant literature addresses clinical questions including (a) Why support the home language when it is not the language used in school or the majority community? (b) Does continued support for the home language undermine attainment in a second language? (c) Should we support the home language when it includes the code switching or mixing of two traditionally separate languages? and (d) What are some strategies that can be used to support the home language when it is a language that the speech-language pathologist (SLP) does not speak? Conclusion: SLPs should provide services to linguistically diverse preschool-age children with LI in a manner that effectively supports the development of the home language. Parent and paraprofessional training along with peermediated models of intervention are presented as two possible methods for facilitating the home language in children with LI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-263
Number of pages13
JournalLanguage, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2005


  • Bilingual
  • Language disorders
  • Second-language learners
  • Treatment


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