Bilingual Intervention In Bilingual Children With Language Impairment
There is limited research on the effects of language of intervention used in bilingual children with ASD and the impact of exposure to a second language. In studies of bilingual children with specific language impairment, no additional language delays were found when using a bilingual treatment approach (Perozzi, 1985; Perozzi & Sanchez, 1992; Thordardottir, Weismer, & Smith, 1997; Restrepo, Morgan, & Thompson, 2013). On the contrary, children were capable of acquiring both languages without hindering their overall language development. The studies demonstrated that the use of the L1 (home language) facilitated acquisition of the L2, and that using a bilingual intervention approach can be beneficial for the language development of children with language impairments. In bilingual children, the development of the first language (L1) supports the development of the second language (L2). Previous research has shown that “children with language impairments can use skills developed in one language to facilitate the learning of skills in another language” (Yu, 2013, p. 12). Two studies demonstrated that the use of the L1 (home language) facilitated acquisition of the L2 (Perozzi, 1985; Perozzi & Sanchez, 1992). The studies measured the relationship between L1 (Spanish) and L2 (English) in facilitating learning of receptive vocabulary, including pronouns and prepositions. Both studies compared the effects of two language treatment conditions in children (ages 4 to 6) with language delays. Treatment in L1 followed by treatment in L2 facilitated acquisition of receptive vocabulary in L2 faster than when treatment was provided in L2 followed by treatment in L1 or when treatment was provided only in L2. Bilingual intervention did not limit language acquisition when compared to a monolingual intervention (Thordardottir et al., 1997). In this single-subject alternating treatment design study, conducted with a bilingual child from Iceland with language impairment, two treatment conditions were compared. A monolingual English treatment condition was compared to a bilingual Icelandic-English treatment condition to measure the acquisition of school and home words learned in English. As a result, there was not a significant difference in the total number of words acquired between treatments; however, more home words were learned in the bilingual treatment than in the monolingual treatment. Not only does a bilingual treatment approach not have negative effects on language skills, but also it produces greater gains in vocabulary. In a well-designed randomized control trial study by Restrepo et al. (2013), 202 preschool dual-language learners (DLLs) with language impairment were selected to participate in the study, along with a group of 54 typically developing DLLs that did not receive intervention. DLLs with language impairment were either assigned to a Spanish-English vocabulary intervention, an English only vocabulary intervention, a bilingual mathematics intervention, or an English only mathematics intervention. After the intervention phase, acquisition of 45 treatment words in English and Spanish was measured. As a result, bilingual intervention facilitated Spanish vocabulary gains greater than in any other condition, and English vocabulary gains were comparable to those in the English only condition. These results suggest that in order to make gains in English vocabulary, it is not required to provide intervention in English only. However, providing intervention in English produced gains in English vocabulary only but had no effects on the Spanish vocabulary.