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Bilingual Development in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder from Newcomer Families

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • The home language environment and language abilities were compared between children with ASD and children with typical development, both from newcomer families. Children were in elementary school, mostly 6 and 7 year olds. The goal was to understand if there were differences in bilingual development between children with ASD and children with typical development the same age. Specifically, we wanted to understand if children with ASD have the capacity to become bilingual and whether this is supported by their communities, clinicians and educators. Key findings were as follows: Parents of children with ASD were often advised to use only or more English with their child, by friends as well as professionals. Children with ASD started to learn English at a younger age than the children with typical development and had much more exposure to English through preschool attendance and intervention. Children with ASD heard and spoke more English, and less of their heritage language, at home than the children with typical development. Regarding English abilities, the high verbal children with ASD had similar abilities to the children with typical development. In contrast, the high verbal children with ASD had lower abilities in their heritage language than the children with typical development. We conclude that children with ASD are more at risk than children with typical development for losing their heritage language. In other words, children with ASD have the capacity to be bilingual, but have limited opportunities to develop their heritage language. We end with recommendations for better supporting bilingual development in children with ASD from newcomer families.

  • Date created
    2018-03-01
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Report
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R31V5BT9X
  • License
    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International