According to previous reports, bilingual families are often advised to restrict input for children with developmental disorders including ASD to one language. Dual language environments of bilingual families are often being discouraged due to predicted delays with language learning for children who already experience impairments in language; however there is little research to support this. Despite early findings suggesting that the language development of children with ASD does not appear to be impacted by bilingual exposure, research should also consider the extent to which parental bilingualism might affect aspects of the parent’s contribution during dyadic interaction with a child with ASD. In previous research, parent interaction style has been shown to have important benefits for the child such as enhanced social-communication abilities and language development, which are known to be commonly impaired in children with ASD. To date, no quantitative research has been conducted on whether parent-interaction style, specifically qualities such as parental synchrony and language scaffolding, are generalizable across each of the parent’s languages in the case of bilingualism. In addition, whether the language used by the bilingual parent has any impact on the child’s social-communication abilities during interaction with the parent has yet to be explicitly shown. With bilingual adults generally describing one language in which they are more proficient, or with which they feel more comfortable, it is important to consider whether factors such as comfort and competency in interacting in a given language have any impact on parental interaction style with their child with ASD. Further exploration of these factors is of particular significance given the unfounded advice bilingual families of children with ASD are reportedly receiving in regards to their language use with their child.
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