Professional Perspectives on Bilingualism in Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Pilot Study
Purpose: The present study examined the perspectives of professionals regarding bilingualism and ASD. Methods: A total of 27 professionals participated in this study. Data was collected via an online survey. The survey was designed based on a literature review and consultation with a team of experts in the field of ASD. Information relating to demographic information, professional practice information, and perspectives of bilingualism and ASD was collected. Results: Professionals participating in the present study were most likely to agree with the statement, “A child with ASD from a bilingual household is able to understand both languages” and least likely to agree with the statement, “There are enough bilingual service providers and resources.” Responses to 5 of the 8 statements related to professional perspectives on bilingualism in children with ASD were near the scale midpoint indicating the participants did not strongly agree nor disagree with the perceptions. When asked what language parents should speak to their children with ASD from a bilingual household, 44% of participants recommended a bilingual approach, and 30% indicated a monolingual approach. Participants reported professional experience and the ability to communicate with caregivers/others in the environment/parent language use as influences for these recommendations. Furthermore, sex, level of education, and bilingual caseload were found to be significantly related to perspectives on bilingualism and ASD. Conclusion: The results of this study support previous literature which has identified a disconnect between research and clinical practice regarding bilingualism and ASD. Furthermore, the relationship between specific demographic and professional variables found in this study can now be used by future research studies and programs targeting bilingualism and ASD. These findings are of particular importance when considering that research has supported bilingualism in children with ASD, yet many professionals continue to implement a monolingual approach. A better understanding of professional perspectives of bilingualism in ASD provides insight into the discrepancy between research and clinical practice and paves the way for future studies and programs targeting improved services for bilingual children with ASD.
Benavidez Saldivar RN, Stewart JR, Crutchfield R, Chen RK, Puente L. Professional Perspectives on Bilingualism in Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Pilot Study. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2022 Nov 28;21(1), Article 14.
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