Bilingual Intervention In Bilingual Children With ASD
Research on language of intervention in bilingual children with ASD is limited. There is a lack of research to support the practice of limiting the language exposure to only one language in bilingual children with ASD. To our knowledge, there is no evidence that confirms that bilingual exposure will cause additional delays; to the contrary, previous research has demonstrated the opposite (Seung, Siddiqi, & Elder, 2006). A longitudinal case study, examined a bilingual, Korean-English boy diagnosed with ASD and language delays for a period of 24 months (Seung et al., 2006). Speech-language ntervention was provided twice per week. During the first 12 months, the treatment was provided in the child’s L1 (Korean). In the following 6 months, English was slowly presented into the treatment. During the last 6 months, the treatment was almost completely in English. As a result, the child’s expressive and receptive language skills improved in both languages; as his native language vocabulary increased, his English vocabulary began to increase too. The study supported the practice of providing treatment in the native language first before conducting treatment in the second language. In another study, a comparison of a Spanish (L1) treatment approach with an English (L2) treatment approach in a bilingual preschool child with ASD revealed that treatment in L1 yielded better results (Lang et al, 2011). The study measured the child’s response to accuracy on identification of body parts and common objects by pointing, manding of specific objects, motor imitation, and challenging behavior. As a result, when the English treatment was compared to the Spanish treatment, the child performed better when treatment was delivered in the child’s native language. The child showed higher correct responses and less challenging behaviors during the Spanish intervention than during the English intervention. Other work has examined language outcomes of different types of bilingual children with ASD. Hambly and Fombonne (2012) found that bilingual children with ASD, exposed to two languages, did not experience additional delays in language development when compared to monolingual children with ASD. They compared social and language abilities of children with ASD from monolingual and bilingual environments in 45 bilingual children with ASD and 30 monolingual children with ASD (mean age of 56 months). The bilingual participants were assigned to two groups based on the language exposure: the simultaneous bilingual or sequential bilingual group. Twenty-four were simultaneous bilinguals (exposed to the second language before 12 months of age) and twenty-one were sequential bilinguals (exposed to the second language after 12 months of age). The study showed no significant differences in language abilities when comparing the simultaneous bilinguals to the sequential bilinguals. Also, no additional language delays were noted in bilingual children with ASD when compared to monolingual children with ASD.