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Faculty Report 2014

Pascale Engel de Abreu

Pascale Engel de Abreu

Associate professor

Academic Area(s) Theoretical & cognitive psychology / Treatment & clinical psychology / Neurosciences & behavior / Education & instruction
Research Topics Cognitive Development, Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Executive Functions, Working Memory, Phonological Awareness, Language Development, Multilingualism
Faculty or Centre Faculté des Lettres, des Sciences Humaines, des Arts et des Sciences de l'Education
Research Unit ECCS
Postal Address Université du Luxembourg
Maison des Sciences Humaines
11, Porte des Sciences
L-4366 Esch-sur-Alzette
Campus Office MSH, E03 15-020
Email
Telephone (+352) 46 66 44 9779
Social Media & Blogs
Video Meet the scientists: Psychologist - Pascale Engel de Abreu
Meet the scientists: Psychologist - Pascale Engel de Abreu
Speaks English, French, German, Luxembourgish, Portuguese, Spanish
 
More information on www.science.lu – Check eccs.uni.lu to know more about the research conducted at the Education, Culture, Cognition and Society (ECCS) Research Unit.

Head of the Language and Cognitive Development Group

About me

I am Associate Professor in multilingual cognitive development at the ECCS Research Unit. 

I specialised in cognitive development in my PhD from the University of York (UK) and hold master's degrees in developmental psychology from the University of Durham (UK) and the Université Louis Pasteur (France). I have postdoctoral research experience from the University of Oxford (UK), the University of Princeton (US), and York University (Canada). I am also a registered child psychologist in Luxembourg and have worked with disadvantaged children in Africa, Bolivia, and Brazil.

My research

I am interested in understanding how children learn, why some children can have “specific learning disorders” (such as dyslexia) and how we can help children achieve their full potential at school. I study important cognitive processes that children need to learn to speak, read and write such as working memory, executive functions and phonological awareness. I am particularly interested in exploring these processes in multilingual speakers. 

Most of my research is conducted in schools using diverse methodologies, including longitudinal, cross-sectional and intervention research. I often work with kids individually and use simple (and fun) games to find out more about how they think and learn. 

My research has important theoretical but also practical implications. One of the major aims is to develop theoretically-driven assessment instruments and intervention programs that will help to alleviate children's learning difficulties and might prevent a downward spiral towards poor educational progress and its associated social problems.

Further information

Last updated on: Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Education

  • 2009 - PhD in Psychology, University of York (UK)
  • 2004 - MSc in Developmental Psychopathology, University of Durham (UK)
  • 2003 - Maîtrise in Developmental Psychology, Université Louis Pasteur Strasbourg (France)
  • 2002 - Licence in Psychology, Université Louis Pasteur Strasbourg (France)
  • 2001 - DEUG in Psychology, Université Louis Pasteur Strasbourg (France)

Employment

  • 2013-present: Associate Professor, University of Luxembourg
  • 2012: Visiting Scientist, York University (Canada)
  • 2010-2013: Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Luxembourg
  • 2009: Visiting Scientist, Princeton University (US)
  • 2009-2010: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Oxford (UK)
  • 2004-2005: Child Psychologist, Residencia Estudiantil Luise, Bella Vista (Bolivia)

Grants

  • 2014 - €910K from National Research Fund (FNR, Luxembourg) for the project "A preschool oral language intervention for language-minority children: A randomised controlled trial” (POLILUX)
  • 2010 - €470K from National Research Fund (FNR, Luxembourg) for the project "The effects of socioeconomic status and bilingualism on children’s cognitive development" (DEVPOLUX)
  • 2009 - £80K from Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC, UK) for the project "Working memory and related cognitive abilities in first and secondary language acquisition"
  • 2007 - Overseas institutional visit award from Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC, UK)
  • 2007 - Study visit award from Experimental Psychology Society (EPS, UK)
  • 2005 - PhD studentship from Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC, UK)
  • 2005 - Research scholarship from National Research Fund (FNR, Luxembourg)
  • 2004 - Chevening Scholarship from British Council

Professional Activities



Last updated on: 03 Sep 2014

I study questions such as:

  • How does a child’s environment influence his language and cognitive development?
  • How can a “specific learning disorder” be detected in a multilingual child?
  • What are the optimal conditions for becoming perfectly multilingual?
  • How do children learn to read in a second language and how can this be made easier?
  • Why do language-minority children struggle in the Luxembourgish educational system and what can we do to best support their learning?
  • What are the effects of multilingualism on brain development?

 

Below is a short description of some of my recent projects: 

  • Preschool Oral Language Intervention for Language-Minority Children: The aim is to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of a mother-tongue based preschool language intervention program on the language and literacy outcomes for language-minority children growing up in Luxembourg using a randomised controlled study design. The program will run for 30 weeks in preschool across Year 1 (C1.1) and Year 2 (C1.2) and will mainly focus on developing children’s vocabulary knowledge as well as their narrative, listening and phonological skills.
  • The Effects of Multilingualism and Socioeconomic Status on Children’s Cognitive Development: Executive functions - the set of cognitive processes that underpin our ability to control our thoughts, actions and emotions - are crucial for educational progress and success in later life. The major aim of this project is to advance the understanding of the extrinsic factors that can have an impact on children’s executive function development. The study is multinational involving Universities from Brazil (USP, UNIFESP), Germany (Universität des Saarlandes) and Portugal (University of Minho).  
  • Early Literacy Instruction in a Multilingual Setting: This project plans to foster the development of pre-literacy skills in young children in order to build a strong foundation for their subsequent reading development. We are developing a theoretically motivated language and pre-literacy program for children in Luxembourg. The program will systematically build up children’s phonological awareness, letter-sound knowledge and broader oral language skills. It will be in Luxembourgish and will be multisensory. 
  • Language Development in Exceptional Circumstances: A Longitudinal Study of Children with Specific Language Impairment: Specific language impairment (SLI) is a clinical condition that is diagnosed when a child fails to acquire language normally, despite apparently typical development in other areas. The diagnosis of SLI in multilingual speakers is difficult because there is often a confusion between language “disorders” and “disadvantages”. The aim of this research is to identify markers for the early identification of SLI in multilingual children. We are exploring the hypothesis that tests of executive functions might distinguish typical from impaired language development in the context of multilingualism. 
  • The Development of Culture-Fair Assessment Tools for Testing Language and Cognition in Children: There is a need for unbiased tools for assessing language and cognition in multilingual children. The aim of this project is to develop phonological processing, lexical processing, working memory and general cognitive ability tasks that are not influenced by the cultural and linguistic elements that come with diverse populations.

 



Last updated on: 04 Sep 2014

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Articles published in scientific periodicals

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See detailSpecific language impairment in language-minority children from low-income families
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Cruz-Santos, A.; Puglisi, M. L.

in International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders (2014), 49(6), 736-747

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See detailExecutive functioning and reading achievement in school: a study of Brazilian children assessed by their teachers as “poor readers”
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Abreu, Neander; Nikaedo, Carolina; Puglisi, Marina; Tourinho De Abreu Neto, Carlos José; Miranda, Monica; Befi-Lopes, Debora; Bueno, Orlando; Martin, Romain

in Frontiers in Psychology [=FPSYG] (2014), 5

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See detailWorking memory screening, school context, and socioeconomic status: An analysis of the effectiveness of the Working Memory Rating Scale in Brazil
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Nikaedo, C.; Abreu, N.; Tourinho De Abreu Neto, Carlos José; Miranda, M. C.; Bueno, O. F. A.; Martin, Romain

in Journal of Attention Disorders (2014), 18(4), 301-311

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See detailCross-linguistic and cross-cultural effects on verbal working memory and vocabulary: Testing minority-language children with an immigrant background
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Baldassi, M.; Puglisi, L. M.; Befi-Lopes, D. M.

in Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing research (2013), 56(2), 630-642

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See detailEffects of impoverished environmental conditions on working memory performance
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Puglisi, M.; Cruz-Santos, A.; Befi-Lopes, D. M.; Martin, Romain

in Memory (2013), Mar 26. [Epub ahead of print]

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See detailBilingualism Enriches the Poor: Enhanced Cognitive Control in Low-Income Minority Children
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Cruz-Santos, A.; Tourinho De Abreu Neto, Carlos José; Martin, Romain; Bialystok, E.

in Psychological Science : A Journal of the American Psychological Society (2012), 23(11), 1364-1371

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See detailExecutive and phonological processes in second language acquisition
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Gathercole, S. E.

in Journal of Educational Psychology (2012), 104(4), 974-986

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See detailWorking memory in multilingual children: Is there a bilingual effect?
Engel de Abreu, Pascale

in Memory (2011), 19(5), 529-537

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See detailDisentangling the relationship between working memory and language: the roles of short-term storage and cognitive control
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Gathercole, S. E.; Martin, Romain

in Learning & Individual Differences (2011), 21

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See detailWorking memory and fluid intelligence in young children
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Conway, A. R. A.; Gathercole, S. E.

in Intelligence (2010), 38(6), 552-561

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See detailAre working memory measures free of socio-economic influence?
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Santos, F. H.; Gathercole, S. E.

in Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing research (2008), 51(6), 1580-1587

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Contributions to collective works

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See detailWorking memory and fluid intelligence
Conway, A; Macnamara, B; Engel de Abreu, Pascale

in Alloway, T; Alloway, R. G. (Eds.) Working Memory the Connected Intelligence (2013)

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See detailWorking memory and fluid intelligence: A multi-mechanism view
Conway, A. R. A.; Macnamara, B.; Getz, S.; Engel de Abreu, Pascale

in Sternberg, R; Kaufman, S (Eds.) Cambridge Handbook of Intelligence (2011)

See detailAdaptação Brasileira da AWMA, "Automated Working Memory Assessment"
Santos, F. H.; Engel de Abreu, Pascale

in Ortiz; Zanotto de Mendonça; Foz; Batista Santos; Fuentes; Amaral de Azambuja (Eds.) Avaliação Neuropsicológica. Panorama interdisciplinar dos estudos atuais na normatização e validação de instrumentos no Brasil (2009)

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Scientific congresses, symposiums and conference proceedings – Unpublished conferences

See detailCross-linguistic Lexical Tasks (CLT) and word knowledge in monolingual children
Haman, Ewa; Armon-Lotem, Sharon; Bjekić; Cantú; Chiat; Chyl; Dabašinskienė; Engel de Abreu, Pascale

Scientific Conference (2014, July 17)

See detailBilingualism Enriches the Poor: Enhanced Cognitive Control in Low-Income Minority Children
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Cruz-Santos, Anabela; Tourinho, Carlos; Martin, Romain; Bialystok, Ellen

Scientific Conference (2014, July 16)

See detailExecutive functions and Specific Language Impairment (SLI) A cross-cultural study with bi- and monolingual children from low income families in Luxembourg, Portugal, and Brazil
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Puglisi, Marina; Cruz-Santos, Anabela; Befi-Lopes, Debora

Scientific Conference (2014, July 16)

See detailCross-Linguistic and Cross-Cultural Effects on Verbal Working Memory and Vocabulary: Testing Language Minority Children with an Immigrant Background
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Baldassi, Martin; Puglisi, Marina; Befi-Lopes, Debora

Scientific Conference (2014, July 03)

See detailBilingualism enriches the poor: Enhanced cognitive control in low-income minority children
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Cruz-Santos, A; Tourinho De Abreu Neto, Carlos José; Martin, Romain; Bialystok, Ellen

Scientific Conference (2013, September 04)

See detailCan measures of executive function disentangle language disorder and disadvantage
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Puglisi, M; Cruz-Santos, A; Befi-Lopes, D

Scientific Conference (2013, June 27)

See detailWorking memory and fluid intelligence in young children
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Gathercole, S; Conway, A

Scientific Conference (2011, July)

See detailWorking memory, executive functions, language, and socio-economic status - A Latent Variable Study of Children From Brazil
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Nikaedo, C; Abreu, N; Befi-Lopes, D; Bueno, O; Martin, R; Miranda, M; Puglisi, M; Tourinho De Abreu Neto, Carlos José

Scientific Conference (2011, July)

See detailCultural and language effects on measures of vocabulary and working memory
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Baldassi, M

Scientific Conference (2011, June)

See detailExecutive functions, language, and socio-economic status
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Nikaedo, C; Abreu, N; Befi-Lopes, D; Bueno, O; Martin, Romain; Miranda, M; Puglisi, M; Tourinho De Abreu Neto, Carlos José

Scientific Conference (2011, June)

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See detailThe development of working memory capacity and fluid intelligence in children
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Gathercole, S; Conway, A

Scientific Conference (2010, December)

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See detailWorking memory and learning
Engel de Abreu, Pascale

Scientific Conference (2010, January)

See detailWORKING MEMORY AND LEARNING: A LONGITUDINAL STUDY OF TRILINGUAL CHILDREN
Engel de Abreu, Pascale

Scientific Conference (2009, August)

See detailAre working memory measures free of socio-economic and cultural influence?
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Gathercole; Santos, F; Martin, Romain

Scientific Conference (2008, January)

See detailLinks between working memory, phonological awareness, and language learning
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Gathercole, S. E.

Scientific Conference (2007, September)

See detailARE WORKING MEMORY MEASURES FREE OF SOCIO-ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL INFLUENCES?
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Santos, F; Martin, Romain; Gathercole, S

Scientific Conference (2007, September)

See detailWorking memory, phonological awareness, and language learning
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Gathercole, S. E.

Scientific Conference (2007, August)

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Scientific congresses, symposiums and conference proceedings – Papers published in a journal

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See detailSpecific language impairment in language minority children from low-income families
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Cruz-Santos, Anabela; Puglisi, Marina

in Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology (2014, May), 56(S3), 7-23

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Scientific congresses, symposiums and conference proceedings – Posters

See detailAge of Acquisition Norms for Nouns and Verbs in 22 Languages
Łuniewska; Anđelković; Armon-Lotem; Chiat; Dabašinskienė; Ege; Engel de Abreu, Pascale

Poster (2014, July 15)

See detailBilingualism Enriches the Poor: Enhanced Cognitive Control in Low-Income Minority Children
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Cruz-Santos, A; Tourinho De Abreu Neto, Carlos José; Martin, Romain; Bialystok, E

Poster (2013, June 24)

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See detailExecutive functions in language-minority children with specific language impairment
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Cruz-Santos, A; Puglisi, M

Poster (2013, May)

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See detailPoverty and executive functions A latent variable study of children growing up in enriched and deprived conditions in Brazil
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Nikaedo, C; Puglisi, M; Tourinho De Abreu Neto, Carlos José; Bueno, O; Miranda, M; Befi-Lopes, D; Abreu, N; Martin, Romain

Poster (2013, April)

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See detailEfeitos de contextos ambientais desfavoráveis na memória operacional
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Puglisi, M; Cruz-Santos, A; Befi-Lopes, D; Martin, Romain

Poster (2012, October)

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See detailO EFEITO DO NIVEL SOCIOECONÔMICO NO DESENVOLVIMENTO COGNITIVO INFANTIL
Carneiro; Guedes; Rossi; ; Tourinho De Abreu Neto, Carlos José; Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Abreu, N

Poster (2011, May)

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See detailWorking memory and fluid intelligence
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Gathercole; Conway, A

Poster (2009, November)

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See detailWorking memory and language learning: A 4-year longitudinal study
Engel de Abreu, Pascale

Poster (2009, October)

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See detailWorking memory and learning: Evidence from a population of trilingual children
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Gathercole, S

Poster (2009, April)

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See detailWorking memory and language: A latent variable longitudinal study
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Gathercole, S

Poster (2008, November)

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See detailWorking memory, phonological awareness, and developing language skills
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Gathercole, S

Poster (2008, July)

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See detailBrave new word: Multilingualism and language learning. A study of Portuguese immigrant children growing up in a plurilingual society
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Gathercole, S; Martin, Romain; dos Santos, F

Poster (2008, April)

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Scientific presentations in Universities or research centres

See detailWorking memory, executive functions, language, and socio-economical status: A latent variable study of children from Brazil
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Nikaedo; Befi-Lopes; Bueno; Martin, Romain; Miranda; Puglisi; Tourinho De Abreu Neto, Carlos José

Presentation (2012, June)

See detailLanguage bias in nonword repetition: Towards a culture fair nonword  repetition task
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; dos Santos, C

Presentation (2012, May)

See detailExecutive functions in low-income multilingual children
Engel de Abreu, Pascale

Presentation (2011, November)

See detailExecutive functions, language, socio-economical status, and multilingualism: How does it all relate?
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Martin, Romain

Presentation (2011, September)

See detailEnvironmental effects on the development of crystallized and fluid cognition
Engel de Abreu, Pascale

Presentation (2011, February)

See detailWorking memory and learning
Engel de Abreu, Pascale

Presentation (2010, June)

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External Reports

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See detailA Pobreza e a Mente: Perspectiva da Ciência Cognitiva
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Tourinho, Carlos; Puglisi, Marina; Nikaedo, Carolina; Abreu, Neander; Miranda, Monica; Befi-Lopes, Debora; Bueno, Orlando; Martin, Romain

Report (2015)

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Doctoral Theses

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E-Prints/Working papers – first made available on ORBilu

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See detailO cérebro multilingue
Engel de Abreu, Pascale

E-print/Working paper (2014)

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See detailLe cerveau multilingue
Engel de Abreu, Pascale

E-print/Working paper (2014)

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See detailD’méisproochegt Gehir
Engel de Abreu, Pascale

E-print/Working paper (2014)

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See detailDas mehrsprachige Gehirn
Engel de Abreu, Pascale

E-print/Working paper (2013)

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E-Prints/Working papers – already available on another site

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See detailLEARN stellt sech fier
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Schiltz, Christine; Hoffmann, Danielle; Martin, Romain; Ugen, Sonja; Schuller, Anne-Marie; Hornung, Caroline

E-print/Working paper (2013)

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See detailLEARN stellt sech fier
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Schiltz, Christine; Hoffmann, Danielle; Hornung, Caroline; Martin, Romain; Schuller, Anne-Marie; Ugen, Sonja

E-print/Working paper (2012)

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Articles for the General Public

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See detailSSES: wat ass et, wou kennt et hier, wéi kann een hëllefen?
Engel de Abreu, Pascale

Article for general public (2013)

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See detailD’Aarbechtsgediechtnes an d’Léiere bei Kanner
Engel de Abreu, Pascale

Article for general public (2011)

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See detailMemória Operacional e Aprendizado - Guia prático
Engel de Abreu, Pascale; Tourinho De Abreu Neto, Carlos José

Article for general public (2011)

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Conferences given outside the academic context

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See detailMultilingualism and Specific Language Impairment
Engel de Abreu, Pascale

Conference given outside the academic context (2014)

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See detailDat méisproochegt Gehir beim Kand
Engel de Abreu, Pascale

Conference given outside the academic context (2014)

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See detailD’méisproochegt Gehir
Engel de Abreu, Pascale

Conference given outside the academic context (2014)

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See detailDas mehrsprachige Gehirn
Engel de Abreu, Pascale

Conference given outside the academic context (2014)

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See detailD’méisproochegt Gehir
Engel de Abreu, Pascale

Conference given outside the academic context (2014)

See detailD‘Exekutivfunktiounen a spezifesch Sproochentwécklungsstéierungen
Engel de Abreu, Pascale

Conference given outside the academic context (2013)

See detailChildhood experience and brain development
Engel de Abreu, Pascale

Conference given outside the academic context (2012)

See detailL'école luxembourgeoise: (quel) besoin de changement?
Martin, Romain; Engel de Abreu, Pascale

Conference given outside the academic context (2012)

See detailExecutivfunktiounen a Léiere bei Kanner
Engel de Abreu, Pascale

Conference given outside the academic context (2012)

See detailD’Exekutivfunktiounen an d’Sproochentwécklung bei jonken Immigrantekanner zu Lëtzebuerg
Engel de Abreu, Pascale

Conference given outside the academic context (2012)

See detailResearch in Luxembourgish schools
Engel de Abreu, Pascale

Conference given outside the academic context (2012)

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