Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 49, Issue 9, pp 3888–3897 | Cite as

Brief Report: Vocabulary and Grammatical Skills of Bilingual Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders at School Age

  • Ana Maria Gonzalez-BarreroEmail author
  • Aparna Nadig
Brief Report


We examined the lexical and grammatical skills of monolingual and bilingual school-age children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Thirteen monolingual and thirteen bilingual children with ASD without intellectual disability, were compared on standardized measures of vocabulary and morphology. Findings revealed that bilingual children performed in the average monolingual range on a standardized receptive vocabulary test and slightly below the average range on a standardized morphological task in their dominant language. Prior work indicates that bilingual exposure is not detrimental for early language development in children with autism. The current findings suggest that at school age, bilinguals with ASD show similar language development patterns as those described in the literature on typically-developing bilinguals.


Bilingualism Autism spectrum disorders Language skills Vocabulary Morphology School-age children 



This study was part of the first author’s doctoral dissertation. We would like to thank the families who participated in the study. We acknowledge the contributions of many research assistants to testing and data coding: Bethsheba Ananng, Chloe Benson, Stefanie Cortina, Laura Khalil, Edwige Lafortune, Sarya Majdalani, Mrinalini Ramesh, Andrea Rezendes, Cynthia Santacroce, Marie-Hélène Tcheuffa-Kamo, and Leah Terrini. We would like to thank Dr. Elin Thordardottir and Dr. Fred Genesee for their input.

Authors’ Contributions

AMGB conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, participated in the measurement, performed statistical analyses and interpretation of the data, and drafted the manuscript; AN participated in the design of the study, interpretation of the data, and drafted the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


This project was funded by a doctoral fellowship from the Fonds de Recherche du Quebec-Societe et Culture (Grant No. 174503) and a doctoral fellowship by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Grant No. 752-2013-1889) to Ana Maria Gonzalez-Barrero.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Communication Sciences and DisordersMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Centre for Research on Brain, Language, and Music (CRBLM)MontrealCanada

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