Bilingual children with ASD

Advice for parents who are raising bilingual children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Continue speaking your home language even when your child is learning English. Your child will not get ‘confused’ hearing more than one language.

  • Use the language or languages that you are most fluent in when communicating with your child. This will help your child to build relationships with all members of the family.

  • Use gestures and/or visual cards when speaking with your child in your home language. This will help your child to communicate more effectively with you.

What research tells us:

  • Bilingual children with autism do not experience additional delays in language development.

  • Children with autism can manage vocabulary in more than one language. 

  • Using two or more languages with a child with autism spectrum disorder helps to develop their social skills.

  • Bilingual autistic children tend to use more gestures to communicate than those exposed to one language.

Remember that even if a child is non-verbal, we should not exclude them from the opportunity to learn any languages spoken at home.