Communicative development in bilingually exposed chinese children with autism spectrum disorders

Rachel Reetzke, Xiaobing Zou, Li Sheng, Napoleon Katsos

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: We examined the association of bilingual exposure with structural and pragmatic language development in Chinese children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Method: The parents of 54 children with ASD exposed to 1 (n = 31) or 2 (n = 23) Chinese languages completed (a) a questionnaire to evaluate their child’s competence in structural language and pragmatic ability in their dominant language (Children’s Communication Checklist–Second Edition; Bishop, 2006), and (b) a questionnaire to assess their child’s social functioning (Social Responsiveness Scale; Constantino & Gruber, 2005; Wang, Lee, Chen, & Hsu, 2012). In addition, parents completed thorough interviews regarding the linguistic environment of their children (Language Environment Interview; Hambly & Fombonne, 2011). Results: Multivariate analyses of variance revealed that bilingually exposed children with ASD did not demonstrate significantly different performance on any standard measure relative to their monolingual peers. Conclusions: The findings suggest that bilingual language exposure is not associated with additional challenges for the development of the dominant language in children with ASD. The lack of negative associations in our sample is not likely to be due to the comparatively early diagnosis and/or intervention that are available in other countries. We discuss implications for decisions regarding the linguistic environment of children with ASD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)813-825
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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