Monolingual and bilingual intervention outcomes in a bilingual child with autism

Victoria Alexander, University of Texas at El Paso


Background: When treating bilingual children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the language of intervention has been a controversial topic among professionals. There is limited research on the treatment of bilingual children with ASD. Purpose: To extend the limited research on the use of language of intervention in bilingual children with ASD. This study compared a monolingual English treatment and a bilingual English-Spanish treatment, to examine which one was more efficient. Methods: A single-subject alternating treatment design with a baseline was used to compare the efficacy of two treatment conditions in increasing language skills in a bilingual child with ASD. The participant was a 5-year-old bilingual child with ASD. Treatment targeted increasing mean length of utterance (MLU) production and following two-step oral commands. Results: The participant presented with increased performance in the two treatment conditions. For MLU, there was a slightly better performance in the monolingual English condition, however an increase was seen in the bilingual Spanish-English condition too. For following commands, the participant performed better in the bilingual condition initially, but at the end, both conditions showed improvement. Conclusion: The results show that the child benefited from both treatment conditions. The study supports the practice of bilingual intervention and suggests that bilingual exposure does not affect language development.

Subject Area

Speech therapy

Recommended Citation

Alexander, Victoria, "Monolingual and bilingual intervention outcomes in a bilingual child with autism" (2015). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1592793.