Jerusalem — Hadassah Academic College (HAC) recently hosted a two day conference on the subject “Communication Disorders in Multilingual and Multicultural Population Groups”.

The conference took place in two parts. On the first day, emphasis was on children and, on the second day, on the subject of adults.

Participants included scholars from Israel and abroad who addressed subjects such as “bilingualism and language deficiencies,” “Aphasia amongst bilingual adults,” and “Language diagnoses adapted to bilingual children”.

The conference attracted 200 speech and language therapists from throughout Israel.

Dr. Sara Meilijson is an Israeli researcher and former Head of the HAC Dept. of Communication Disorders. Her research/clinical interests include pragmatics of language, child language development and disorders, ASD and clinical education. She notes, “Children who are raised in a multilingual environment benefit from a rich inner world and develop linguistic and communicative ability by virtue of the fact that they are exposed to various languages and, sometimes, to various cultures as well. They rapidly learn to manage their lives in two languages and choose the suitable language for a communications situation.  However, there are instances in which multilingualism can present a challenge to children from a linguistic and communicative aspect. Therefore it is important to provide teachers, therapists and parents with the necessary knowledge and tools to support the development of the languages confidently and effectively.”