Language Disorders Research on Bilingualism, School-Age, and Related Difficulties: A Scoping Review of Descriptive Studies

Karen Bonuck, Valerie Shafer, Risa Battino, Rosario Maria Valicenti-McDermott, Elyse S. Sussman, Kathleen McGrath

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Developmental language disorder (DLD) often remains undetected until children shift from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn,’ around 9 years of age. Mono- and bilingual children with DLD frequently have co-occurring reading, attention, and related difficulties, compared to children with typical language development (TLD). Data for mono- and bilingual children with DLD and TLD would aid differentiation of language differences versus disorders in bilingual children. Objective: We conducted a scoping review of descriptive research on mono-and bilingual children < and >= 9 years old with DLD versus TLD, and related skills (auditory processing, attention, cognition, executive function, and reading). Data Sources: We searched PubMed for the terms “bilingual” and “language disorders” or “impairment” and “child[ren]” from August 1, 1979 through October 1, 2018. Charting Methods: Two abstracters charted all search results. Main exclusions were: secondary data/reviews, special populations, intervention studies, and case studies/series. Abstracted data included age, related skills measures’, and four language groups of participants: monolingual DLD, monolingual TLD, bilingual DLD, and bilingual TLD. Results: Of 366 articles, 159 (43%) met inclusion criteria. Relatively few (14%, n = 22) included all 4 language groups, co-occurring difficulties other than nonverbal intelligence (n = 49, 31%) or reading (n = 51, 32%) or any 9–18 year-olds (31%, n = 48). Just 5 (3%) included only 9-18 year-olds. Among studies with any 9 to 18 year olds, just 4 (8%, 4/48) included 4 language groups. Conclusions: Future research should include mono- and bilingual children with both DLD and TLD, beyond 8 years of age, along with data about their related skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)518-525
Number of pages8
JournalAcademic Pediatrics
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2022


  • MeSH terms
  • child
  • language disorders
  • multilingualism/bilingualism
  • review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Language Disorders Research on Bilingualism, School-Age, and Related Difficulties: A Scoping Review of Descriptive Studies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this