Foreign and second language learning in special needs children: When the diversity of the profiles and contexts urges us to rethink the diagnosis, the teachers' training, and the teaching methods
Between 1 and 7% of children are estimated to have oral language acquisition disorders and between 5 and 10% are estimated to have written language disorders. In Switzerland, each primary school class would thus count on average 3 special needs children (dysphasia, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, etc.). Some of these children are of immigrant backgrounds and are faced with important challenges in terms of schooling in an L2 as well as social integration in the host country. In addition to the language disorders, there are the child and family's socialization efforts.
This issue of Babylonia provides a reflection on the foreign and second language learning needs of children with learning and language disabilities. It addresses the vulnerability that special needs children face in different learning situations and, more generally, throughout socialization. The diversity of social contexts gathered in the issue mirrors the plurality of factors that can affect special needs children and consequently raises socially relevant questions such as the therapeutic management of these children, the pedagogical methods adapted to their language development, or foreign language course exemptions.
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