Should I raise my autistic child to be bilingual?
By Allison Ratto, Ph.D., Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at Children's National
(Para leer en español, use el botón Idioma para traducirlo al español.)
An important question many bilingual families ask is: “Is it harmful to raise my child in a bilingual home, teaching both Spanish and English?” Families have been told, “Speak only one language to your child on the spectrum” – and usually that means teaching them English only. We know that speaking two languages can be an incredible advantage for children without developmental disabilities, including:
Because children with autism often have difficulty with language, the assumption for many years was that learning two or more languages would be harmful and further delay their language skills. In recent years, however, research from the United States, Canada, and around the world has shown benefits: