Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 42, Issue 7, pp 1342–1352 | Cite as

The Impact of Bilingual Environments on Language Development in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Catherine HamblyEmail author
  • Eric Fombonne
Original Paper


The impact of bilingual exposure on language learning has not been systematically studied in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. This study compared the social abilities and language levels of children (mean age = 56 months) with ASDs from bilingual (n = 45) and monolingual (n = 30) environments. Bilingually-exposed children were subgrouped based on simultaneous bilingual exposure from infancy (SIM, n = 24) versus sequential post-infancy bilingual exposure (SEQ, n = 21). Despite significantly different amounts of bilingual exposure across all groups (p = <0.001) and significantly stronger social interaction scores in the SIM group compared to the SEQ group on the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales-II Interpersonal subdomain (p = 0.025), there were no significant group differences in language level. Bilingually-exposed children with ASDs did not experience additional delays in language development.


Bilingualism Children Autism spectrum disorders Language Socialization 



This research was supported by a grant to both authors from Autism Speaks.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryMontreal Children’s Hospital, McGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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