Communicative Development in Bilingually Exposed Chinese Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders 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 ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2015
Communicative Development in Bilingually Exposed Chinese Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Rachel Reetzke
    The University of Texas at Austin
    University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • Xiaobing Zou
    Child Developmental-Behaviour Centre, the Third Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China
  • Li Sheng
    The University of Texas at Austin
  • Napoleon Katsos
    University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Napoleon Katsos: nk248@cam.ac.uk
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Elizabeth Kay-Raining Bird
    Associate Editor: Elizabeth Kay-Raining Bird×
Article Information
Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Autism Spectrum / Language Disorders / Social Communication & Pragmatics Disorders / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2015
Communicative Development in Bilingually Exposed Chinese Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2015, Vol. 58, 813-825. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-13-0258
History: Received September 24, 2013 , Revised September 2, 2014 , Accepted January 13, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2015, Vol. 58, 813-825. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-13-0258
History: Received September 24, 2013; Revised September 2, 2014; Accepted January 13, 2015
Web of Science® Times Cited: 1

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.

Acknowledgments
Rachel Reetzke would like to thank the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship program for a visiting student grant to the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, and the Fulbright U.S. student research grant program for supporting her research in Guangzhou, China. Napoleon Katsos was partially supported by British Academy/Leverhulme Research Grant SG-090676 and the ESRC funded network on Experimental Pragmatics in the UK (XPrag-UK; RES-810-21-0069). The coauthors would like to thank Deng Wenlin, Lynn Cai, Ruei-An Shen, Fu Ming, Jiang Weiliang, Ji Yue, and Katie Keith for their assistance with data collection and review of early versions of the manuscript. We would also like to thank Bonnie Chow for assisting us with the choice of measuring instruments and Catherine Hambly for providing extensive guidance for the use of the Language Environment Interview (Hambly & Fombonne, 2011). We also benefited from helpful comments and suggestions made at the presentation of an earlier version of this work at the Child Language Seminar 2013, in Newcastle, United Kingdom. Most of all, we would like to thank the children and parents of the Third Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University and Guangzhou Cana School, who were willing to give their time to participate in this study and help us to further our knowledge of autism spectrum disorders.
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