Honors Projects


Tayler Finsel


The number of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) from bilingual families continues to increase. With 1 in 88 children receiving a diagnosis of being on the autism spectrum, it is important to expand upon current research. This present research study surveyed caregivers regarding their perceptions and experiences of raising a child on the autism spectrum in a bilingual language environment. Information on how families are counseled regarding bilingualism and language development in ASD is limited. Caregivers often find themselves receiving conflicting advice from professionals about whether or not to incorporate bilingualism into the life of their child with ASD; they expressed a need for more information and support. Four common themes resonating through parent responses in this study included feelings of (1) confusion and (2) hesitation, and experiences with (3) inconsistent advice or (4) their child with ASD not having the language capabilities to speak an additional language. A survey was sent to approximately 125 Autism Society of America chapters through email, as well as a few other organizations related to autism and bilingualism. The concern of parents reinforces the pertinent need for continued research for children with ASD who are in bilingual (and multilingual) language environments.


Communication Sciences and Disorders

First Advisor

Dr. Lynne Hewitt

First Advisor Department

Communication Sciences and Disorders

Second Advisor

Dr. Louisa Ha

Second Advisor Department


Publication Date

Fall 12-11-2012