Published in: Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, (2012), 6, 890-897
Authors: J. Kaori Ohashi, Pat Mirenda, Stefka Marinova-Todd, Catherine Hambly, Eric Fombonne, Peter Szatmari, Susan Bryson, Wendy Roberts, Isabel Smith, Tracy Vaillancourt, Joanne Volden, Charlotte Waddell, Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, Stelios Georgiades, Eric Duku, Ann Thompson, the Pathways in ASD Study Team
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to compare a group of recently diagnosed bilingual-exposed children with autism (n=20) aged 24–52 months with a matched group of monolingual- exposed children with autism (n=40). The groups were matched with regard to chronological age at the time of language assessment and nonverbal IQ score, then compared with regard to the severity of children’s autism-related communication impairment, age of first words, age of first phrases, receptive language scores, expressive language scores, and functional communication scores. Univariate ANOVAs were performed for autism-related communication impairment, age of first words, and age of first phrases. A MANCOVA, with the total number of speech-language and applied behaviour analysis intervention hours entered as a covariate, was performed on the remaining dependent variables. No statistically significant differences between the two groups on any of the language measures were observed. The results suggest that a bilingual language environment does not disadvantage young children with autism in the early stages of language development. Study limitations and research and clinical implications are discussed.