Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 42, Issue 7, pp 1499–1503 | Cite as

Brief Report: An Exploratory Study of Lexical Skills in Bilingual Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Jill M. Petersen
  • Stefka H. Marinova-Todd
  • Pat Mirenda
Brief Report

Abstract

Studying lexical diversity in bilingual children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) can contribute important information to our understanding of language development in this diverse population. In this exploratory study, lexical comprehension and production and overall language skills were investigated in 14 English–Chinese bilingual and 14 English monolingual preschool-age children with ASD. Results indicated that both groups had equivalent scores on all but one measure of language and vocabulary, including English production vocabulary, conceptual production vocabulary, and vocabulary comprehension. When comparing the two languages of bilingual participants, there were no significant differences in production vocabulary size or vocabulary comprehension scores. The results provide evidence that bilingual English–Chinese preschool-age children with ASD have the capacity to function successfully as bilinguals.

Keywords

Bilingual ASD Vocabulary CDI Chinese 

References

  1. Bialystok, E. (2001). Bilingualism in development: Language, literacy, and cognition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chawarska, K., Paul, R., Klin, A., Hanninger, S., Dichtel, L., & Volkmar, F. (2007). Parental recognition of developmental problems in toddlers with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37, 62–72.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Condouris, K., Meyer, E., & Tager-Flusberg, H. (2003). The relationship between standardization measures of language and measures of spontaneous speech in children with autism. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 12, 249–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dunn, L. M., & Dunn, L. M. (1997). Peabody picture vocabulary test (3rd ed.). Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.Google Scholar
  5. Fenson, L., Dale, P. S., Reznick, J. S., Thal, D., Bates, E., Hartung, J. P., et al. (1993). MacArthur communicative development inventory: Users guide and technical manual. San Diego, CA: Singular Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  6. Hambly, C., & Fombonne, E. (2009). The impact of bilingual exposure on the expressive language of children with autism spectrum disorders. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for Autism Research, Chicago, IL.Google Scholar
  7. Kay-Raining Bird, E., Trudeau, N., Thordardottir, E., Sutton, A., & Thorpe, A. (2005). The language abilities of bilingual children with Down syndrome. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 14, 187–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Kohnert, K. (2007). Language disorders in bilingual children and adults. San Diego, CA: Plural Publishing Inc.Google Scholar
  9. Kremer-Sadlik, T. (2005). To be or not to be bilingual: Autistic children from multilingual families. In J. Cohen, K. T. McAlister, K. Rolstad, & J. MacSwan (Eds.), Proceedings of the 4th international symposium on bilingualism (pp. 1225–1234). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.Google Scholar
  10. Leadbitter, K., Hudry, K., & Temple, K. (2009). Does bilingualism affect language development in young children with autism? Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for Autism Research, Chicago, IL.Google Scholar
  11. Lord, C., Rutter, M., DiLavore, P. C., & Risi, S. (2001). The autism diagnostic observation schedule. Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services.Google Scholar
  12. Lu, L., & Liu, H. H. (1994). The Peabody picture vocabulary test–revised. Taipei, Taiwan: Psychological Press.Google Scholar
  13. Macnamara, J. (1966). Bilingualism and primary education. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Mirenda, P., Bopp, K., Smith, V., Kavanagh, P., & Zaidman-Zait, A. (2005). Outcomes of autism early intervention in British Columbia, Canada. In Proceedings of the Autism Society of America annual conference (pp. 25–30). Nashville, TN: Autism Society of America.Google Scholar
  15. Mullen, E. (1995). Mullen scales of early learning. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.Google Scholar
  16. Pearson, B. Z., Fernandez, S. C., & Oller, R. E. (1993). Lexical development in bilingual infants and toddlers: Comparison to monolingual norms. Language Learning, 43, 93–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Rutter, M., Le Couteur, A., & Lord, C. (2003). Autism diagnostic interview (rev. ed. ed.). Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services.Google Scholar
  18. Schopler, E., Reichler, R. J., & Rochen-Renner, B. (1988). The childhood autism rating scale. Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services.Google Scholar
  19. Seung, H., Siddiql, S., & Elder, J. H. (2006). Intervention outcomes of a bilingual child with autism. Journal of Medical Speech-Language Pathology, 14, 53–63.Google Scholar
  20. Tardif, T., & Fletcher, P. (2008). User’s guide and manual for the Chinese communicative development inventories (Putonghua and Cantonese). Beijing, China: Peking University Medical Press.Google Scholar
  21. Thordardottir, E. T., Ellis Weismer, S., & Smith, M. E. (1997). Vocabulary learning in bilingual and monolingual clinical intervention. Child Language Teaching and Therapy, 13, 215–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Thordardottir, E., Rothenberg, A., Rivard, M., & Naves, R. (2006). Bilingual assessment: Can overall proficiency be estimated from separate measurement of two languages? Journal of Multilingual Communication Disorders, 4, 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Valicenti-McDermott, M. D., Schouls, M., Molly, G., Tarshis, N., Seijo, R., & Shulman, L. H. (2008). Language skills in young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD): Are there differences between monolingual English and bilingual English-Spanish toddlers? Poster presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for Autism Research, London.Google Scholar
  24. Zimmerman, I. L., Steiner, V. G., & Pond, R. E. (1992). Preschool language scale (3rd ed.). San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jill M. Petersen
    • 1
  • Stefka H. Marinova-Todd
    • 1
  • Pat Mirenda
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Audiology and Speech SciencesUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of Educational & Counseling Psychology and Special EducationUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

Personalised recommendations