No AccessSIG 1 Language Learning and EducationArticle1 Jan 2017

Language of Intervention in Bilingual Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders

    Selecting the appropriate language of intervention for bilingual children with language impairment is difficult, especially for bilingual children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) as their families are often encouraged by professionals to select one language only for communication. The limited evidence supports the use of bilingual language interventions when working with bilingual children with ASD. The current study sought to expand this limited work by presenting preliminary data of the effects of a bilingual and monolingual treatment condition on the language skills of two bilingual children with ASD (ages 3 and 5) using an alternating treatment, single-subject design. The two treatment conditions, a monolingual English condition and a bilingual English/Spanish condition, were alternated across 14 treatment sessions. Both participants improved in each condition. The treatment conditions were highly effective for one participant and minimally effective for the other participant. Within each participant, effect sizes were similar across the two treatment conditions. There were differences in the maintenance patterns of the two participants. These results support the available evidence that bilingual treatments do not have negative effects on bilingual children with ASD.

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