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Children from Around the World
Three-year-old Lena, from Amman, Jordan, is one of many preschool children with Autism Spectrum Disorder ASD who are also dual language learners DLLs. She is developing language skills in Arabic and English. Lena uses either language or both languages, depending on the situation. Toda, whose family is from Lagos, Nigeria, is nonverbal and uses signs to communicate. Throughout the day he’s exposed to Nigerian-English on the radio and Yoruba a Nigerian language by his aunt. Jose’s family is from Columbia. He knows his favorite DVDs by heart but his receptive language skills are still emerging. Jose’s mother speaks English and Spanish at home, although his grandmother, his primary caregiver, speaks only Spanish.
Lena, Toda, and Jose represent the many multilingual children around the world who have ASD. Although children with ASD often have poor joint attention the ability to share, with another person, an interest in each other, an object, or an event, which can make learning any language more difficult, children and their families benefit from experience with more than one language for many reasons.
This article in Young Exceptional Children highlights important issues to consider when providing early intervention services to families with children who are DLL and have ASD. Read Around the World: Supporting Young Children with ASD who are Dual Language Learners to learn about the practices that help teachers keep cultural and linguistic diversity in mind. The Division for Early Childhood DEC and Sage Publications have enabled free access through Sept. 30, 2014.
Source: National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning