Children are amazing! They master most of their speech and language skills in their first five to six years of life. Additionally, many children around the world become competent communicators in more than one language.

However, some children can have difficulty with speech and language, regardless of the number of languages they speak. When difficulties occur, they may seek the support of a speech-language pathologist (SLP, speech therapist, fonoaudi├│loga, logop├ędiste, orthophoniste, etc). The purpose of this website is to present a compilation of resources for SLPs who are working with multilingual children with speech sound disorders and to partially address the following question:

How do we "close the gap between the linguistic homogeneity of the profession and the linguistic diversity of its clientele"? (Caesar & Kohler, 2007, p. 198)

Some of the content on this website also may be useful for others who support multilingual children's communication skills (speech) including educators, interpreters, other health and education professionals, families, and communities.


Multilingualism is used as an overarching term for bilingualism and multilingualism. "Children who are multilingual are able to comprehend and/or produce two or more languages in oral, manual, or written form with at least a basic level of functional proficiency or use, regardless of the age at which the languages were learned" (International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children's Speech, 2012, p. 1, adapted from Grech & McLeod, 2012, p. 121).

Speech sound disorders

"Children with speech sound disorders can have difficulties with

  • perception,
  • articulation/motor production, and/or
  • phonological representation

of speech segments (consonants and vowels), phonotactics (syllable and word shapes), and prosody (lexical and grammatical tones, rhythm, stress, and intonation) that may impact speech intelligibility and acceptability… Other terms for speech sound disorders include: articulation and phonological delay/disorder, and speech impairment." (International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children's Speech, 2012, p. 1).


Speech-language pathologists, phoneticians, linguists and others around the world have contributed to the development of this website. Specific contributions are acknowledged throughout the website; however, the generosity of others within the wider international community is acknowledged. Special thanks is extended to Dan Given who designed and created the Multilingual Children's Speech website, and to Phil Paschke and Jo Masters who maintain it.

The development of this website was funded by Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (FT0990588) awarded to Professor Sharynne McLeod, Charles Sturt University, Australia.


Caesar, L. G., & Kohler, P. D. (2007). The state of school-based bilingual assessment: Actual practice versus recommended guidelines. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 38(3), 190-200.

Grech, H. & McLeod, S. (2012). Multilingual speech and language development and disorders. In D. Battle (Ed). Communication disorders in multicultural and international populations (4th ed) (pp. 120-147). St Louis, MI: Elsevier.

International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children's Speech (2012). Multilingual children with speech sound disorders: Position paper. Bathurst, Australia: Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education (RIPPLE), Charles Sturt University. Retrieved from http://www.csu.edu.au/research/multilingual-speech/position-paper

Suggested citation:

McLeod, S. (2012). Multilingual children's speech. Bathurst, NSW, Australia: Charles Sturt University. Retrieved from http://www.csu.edu.au/research/multilingual-speech/