Language education has become an integral part of the overall education system across the United States. Researchers across the world have have there are many benefits to being bilingual for children who do not live with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), but new research has emerged, extending these benefits to children who live with ASD as well.
Professor Aparna Nadig, an author of the research findings from the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders at McGill University, published a paper explaining the conclusion found on what research has been conducted on Science Daily. “Over the past 15 years there has been a significant debate in the field about whether there is a ‘bilingual advantage’ in terms of executive functions… But no one has yet published research that clearly demonstrates that this advantage may also extend to children on the autism spectrum. And so it’s very exciting to find that it does.”
All individuals living with ASD tend to have a difficult time switching from one task to the next and enjoy the repetition of completing the task repeatedly. Medical News Today states that when an individual with ASD becomes bilingual they are training their executive functions to switch from one language to another and will therefore improve their overall executive functions ability to switch from one task to another.
The research conducted by Professor Nadig included 40 children between the ages of six and nine. Some of the children had ASD and some did not. The research found that the children with ASD who were bilingual performed much better than children with ASD who only knew one language.
The amount of research remains slim and researchers are conscious of its importance to parents who may consider foreign language education for their children living with autism. The 40 children that took part in the research mentioned above will be followed over the next three to five years to discover how they develop based on whether they are bilingual or not. More research is said to be in the works to add additional credibility.