Social Differences Between Monolingual English and Bilingual English-Spanish Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: Bilingualism is increasingly prevalent; however, research in bilingual children with autism is sparse. The purpose of this study was to compare social skills and autistic features in monolingual English and bilingual English-Spanish children with autism spectrum disorder. Methods: We conducted a review of the multidisciplinary evaluations done in all children aged one to six years diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in an inner city, university-affiliated clinic from 2003 to 2013. Collected information included demographics, developmental testing, and autistic characteristics. Results: We identified 462 children; 165 were bilingual English-Spanish and 297 were monolingual English. Parents of bilingual children reported stereotyped or repetitive use of language more often (66% vs 48% P = 0.002) than monolinguals. Significant differences were not found in social interaction, use of nonverbal behaviors, peer relationships, sharing or social or emotional reciprocity, mannerisms, or autism severity. Conclusions: Bilingualism does not seem to confer an extra vulnerability on children with autism spectrum disorder; however, differences in qualitative use of language were observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPediatric Neurology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

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Multilingualism
Autistic Disorder
Language
Interpersonal Relations
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Parents
Demography
Research

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Bilingualism
  • Language
  • Social characteristics
  • Young children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology

Cite this

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title = "Social Differences Between Monolingual English and Bilingual English-Spanish Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders",
abstract = "Objective: Bilingualism is increasingly prevalent; however, research in bilingual children with autism is sparse. The purpose of this study was to compare social skills and autistic features in monolingual English and bilingual English-Spanish children with autism spectrum disorder. Methods: We conducted a review of the multidisciplinary evaluations done in all children aged one to six years diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in an inner city, university-affiliated clinic from 2003 to 2013. Collected information included demographics, developmental testing, and autistic characteristics. Results: We identified 462 children; 165 were bilingual English-Spanish and 297 were monolingual English. Parents of bilingual children reported stereotyped or repetitive use of language more often (66{\%} vs 48{\%} P = 0.002) than monolinguals. Significant differences were not found in social interaction, use of nonverbal behaviors, peer relationships, sharing or social or emotional reciprocity, mannerisms, or autism severity. Conclusions: Bilingualism does not seem to confer an extra vulnerability on children with autism spectrum disorder; however, differences in qualitative use of language were observed.",
keywords = "Autism, Bilingualism, Language, Social characteristics, Young children",
author = "Valicenti-McDermott, {Maria D.R.} and Rosa Seijo and Shulman, {Lisa H.}",
year = "2019",
month = "1",
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doi = "10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2019.07.001",
language = "English (US)",
journal = "Pediatric Neurology",
issn = "0887-8994",
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AU - Valicenti-McDermott, Maria D.R.

AU - Seijo, Rosa

AU - Shulman, Lisa H.

PY - 2019/1/1

Y1 - 2019/1/1

N2 - Objective: Bilingualism is increasingly prevalent; however, research in bilingual children with autism is sparse. The purpose of this study was to compare social skills and autistic features in monolingual English and bilingual English-Spanish children with autism spectrum disorder. Methods: We conducted a review of the multidisciplinary evaluations done in all children aged one to six years diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in an inner city, university-affiliated clinic from 2003 to 2013. Collected information included demographics, developmental testing, and autistic characteristics. Results: We identified 462 children; 165 were bilingual English-Spanish and 297 were monolingual English. Parents of bilingual children reported stereotyped or repetitive use of language more often (66% vs 48% P = 0.002) than monolinguals. Significant differences were not found in social interaction, use of nonverbal behaviors, peer relationships, sharing or social or emotional reciprocity, mannerisms, or autism severity. Conclusions: Bilingualism does not seem to confer an extra vulnerability on children with autism spectrum disorder; however, differences in qualitative use of language were observed.

AB - Objective: Bilingualism is increasingly prevalent; however, research in bilingual children with autism is sparse. The purpose of this study was to compare social skills and autistic features in monolingual English and bilingual English-Spanish children with autism spectrum disorder. Methods: We conducted a review of the multidisciplinary evaluations done in all children aged one to six years diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in an inner city, university-affiliated clinic from 2003 to 2013. Collected information included demographics, developmental testing, and autistic characteristics. Results: We identified 462 children; 165 were bilingual English-Spanish and 297 were monolingual English. Parents of bilingual children reported stereotyped or repetitive use of language more often (66% vs 48% P = 0.002) than monolinguals. Significant differences were not found in social interaction, use of nonverbal behaviors, peer relationships, sharing or social or emotional reciprocity, mannerisms, or autism severity. Conclusions: Bilingualism does not seem to confer an extra vulnerability on children with autism spectrum disorder; however, differences in qualitative use of language were observed.

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