Supporting Multilingualism in Immigrant Children: An Integrative Approach

Adriana Weisleder*, Alejandra Reinoso, Murielle Standley, Krystal Alvarez-Hernandez, Anele Villanueva

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Immigrant children are a growing and demographically important segment of the world's population. One key aspect of immigrant children's experience is navigating multiple languages, creating both opportunities, and challenges. However, the literature on bilingualism rarely centers the experiences of immigrant children. Focusing on immigrant children in the United States, this article brings together cognitive science research on bilingualism with the integrative risk and resilience model of adaptation in immigrant-origin children to elucidate how common contexts that immigrant children encounter can support or discourage multilingualism. Policy must consider immigrant children's intersecting identities—both as immigrants and as learners of minoritized, and often racialized, languages. A proposed framework can guide policies to support multilingualism in immigrant children, with downstream consequences for their health and development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-84
Number of pages9
JournalPolicy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2024


  • bilingualism
  • immigrant children
  • language development
  • language policy
  • multilingualism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Administration


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