Edited by Irina A. Sekerina, Lauren Spradlin and Virginia Valian
[Studies in Bilingualism 57] 2019
► pp. 337–353
Chapter 20. Proficient bilingualism may alleviate some executive function difficulties in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
A bilingual advantage, or enhanced performance on executive function (EF) tasks, has been identified in typically-developing bilingual children relative to monolinguals. Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) demonstrate significant EF difficulties in comparison to typically-developing peers. Perhaps bilingualism could alleviate EF impairments in ASD? We review our lab’s findings from bilingual vs. monolingual school-age children with ASD, and those with typical development, on both performance tasks and parent ratings of EF application in daily life. We present the first evidence of a bilingual advantage in ASD on EF performance tasks (verbal fluency and dimensional change card sort), but not parent ratings. The implications of these preliminary findings for future research and clinical practice with children with ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders are discussed.