from ACT’s 12th Annual Focus on Research
Filmed April 16th, 2016
Many bilingual families are told by professionals to speak only one language (in Canada, either English or French) to their child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The rationale for this recommendation is that the linguistic input to which these children are exposed should be as simplistic as possible in order to facilitate language learning, given the social-communicative challenges inherent in ASD. Until recently, few studies had compared language development in monolingual vs. bilingual children with ASD to determine if exposure to more than one language is, in fact, problematic. This presentation will summarize the research in this area, much of which was conducted in Canada, with recommendations for bilingual parents and for professionals who support them.
Presenter: Pat Mirenda, PhD, BCBA
Pat Mirenda is a Professor and Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research and Collaboration in Autism at the University of British Columbia. She has published numerous research articles and presents frequently at international and national conferences. Her research examines the developmental trajectories of children with autism and their families.
Part 1: Introduction and Parents’ Experiences
- Jegatheesan, B., (2011) Multilingual Development in Children with Autism: Perspectives of South Asian Muslim Immigrant Parents on Raising a Child with a Communicative Disorder in Multilingual Contexts
- Fernandez y Garcia, E., Breslau, J., Hansen, R., & Miller, E., (2012) Unintended consequences: An ethnographic narrative case series exploring language recommendations for bilingual families of children with autistic spectrum disorders
- Yu, B., (2013) Issues in Bilingualism and Heritage Language Maintenance: Perspectives of Minority-Language Mothers of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders
Part 2: Review of the Research on ASD and Bilingualism
- Website for Pathways Study in ASD http://www.asdpathways.ca/
- Seung, H., Siddiqi, S., & Elder, J.H., (2006) Intervention outcomes of a bilingual child with autism
- Hambly & Fombonne (2012) The impact of bilingual environments on language development in children with autism spectrum disorders.
- Petersen, Marinova-Todd, Mirenda (2012) Brief Report: An Exploratory Study of Lexical Skills in Bilingual Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Ohashi, Mirenda, et al., 2012 Comparing early language development in monolingual- and bilingual- exposed young children with autism spectrum disorders
- Valicenti-McDermott et al., (2013) Language differences between monolingual English and bilingual English-Spanish young children with autism spectrum disorders
- Hambly & Fombonne (2014) Factors influencing bilingual expressive vocabulary size in children with autism spectrum disorders
- Reetzke, Zou, Sheng, & Katsos (2015) Communicative Development in Bilingually Exposed Chinese Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Howse, (2016) Verbal outcomes at school entry of monolingual and bilingual children with ASD who were minimally verbal at the time of diagnosis
Part 3: School-Age Children and Language
- Lam, T., (2015) Pragmatic skills of bilingual and monolingual children with autism spectrum disorder
- Macaro, S., (2015) A comparative study of executive functioning behaviours in bilingual and monolingual children with autism spectrum disorder