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-ToddEmail author
  • Pat Mirenda
Brief Report


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.


Bilingual ASD Vocabulary CDI Chinese 



We thank the children, parents, speech-language pathologists, and behaviour consultants who participated in our study, as well as the individuals who contributed assessments, coding assistance, translating, and editorial support: Krista Byers-Heinlein, Jacqueline Chong, Alice Hung, Carolyn Johnson, Cherry Li, Patty Petersen, Clinton Tsang, Susan Yang, and Jing Zhao. We would like to also acknowledge Twila Tardif for providing us with the Chinese Communicative Development Inventories and the two anonymous reviewers for their helpful feedback.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jill M. Petersen
    • 1
  • Stefka H. Marinova-Todd
    • 1
    Email author
  • 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

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