Approximately 20% of children in Canada and the United States are raised in bilingual family homes. Current recommendations for typically developing children are to encourage and support bilingual exposure in the home; however, there are no specific guidelines for families of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), a disorder in which communication deficits are considered a hallmark feature.
The aim of this study is to present a scoping review of studies that compare cognitive, linguistic, and behavioral outcomes for children with ASDs raised in monolingual vs bilingual homes.
A systematic search of 6 databases for peer-reviewed literature and gray literature search through dissertation databases, conference archives, and reference lists of pertinent studies was conducted.
Nine studies were included. No consistent differences were observed in the categories of core ASDs behaviors, cognitive function, or language. The studies suggest a potential bilingual advantage on nonverbal intelligence quotient scores, adaptive functioning, and expressive vocabulary.
There is no evidence of a detrimental effect of raising children with ASDs in a bilingual home.