What Can Language Barriers Do to a Child’s Brain?

upset-534103_960_720Language barriers not only affect a child’s well-being when it comes to interacting with peers, but it can also have detrimental effects on both their health and their academic success.

Students, both young and old, have more of an opportunity than ever to attend schools that otherwise wouldn’t be available to them, like those in a different province, state or country.

While domestic schools are much easier to navigate in regards to language, there can still be certain language barriers; and where there’s a language barrier, there’s also a possibility of failure.

“Research shows that Hispanic second language students are not as successful as their English-speaking peers in school,” explains Pauline S. Ivey in Overcoming Language and Cultural Barriers. “The problem is in part due to several factors: curriculum deliverance in a foreign language, cultural differences, and family/school disconnect.”

According to Ivey, students who overcome the language barrier have a better chance at success, both academically as well as outside of school.

Take for instance healthcare.  In a world where interpreters and translators should be prominent, some children can’t even get the basic care they need to fully recover from injuries, especially brain related injuries.

According to researchers from the University of Washington, children suffering from brain injuries may have a more difficult time getting better. This is because children in these situations are not getting the required care necessary to fully recuperate.

After surveying about 300 health care providers, researched found that some patients weren’t able to get adequate rehabilitation post brain surgery because of the language barrier. The children who hoped to gain therapy through these health care providers had only 20 percent acceptance rate if they were part of Medicaid and needed language interpretation.

While language barriers shouldn’t stop children and adults from taking part in a normal life, it often does in varying degrees. These examples are a sample of incidents occurring daily, and only through acceptance can these things be corrected in the long run.


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