Background: Approximately 20% of children in Canada and the United States are raised in bilingual family homes. Current recommendations for typically developing children are to encourage and support bilingual exposure in the home; however, there are no specific guidelines for families of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), a disorder in which communication deficits are considered a hallmark feature.
Objective: The aim of this study is to present a scoping review of studies that compare cognitive, linguistic, and behavioral outcomes for children with ASDs raised in monolingual vs bilingual homes.
Methods: A systematic search of 6 databases for peer-reviewed literature and gray literature search through dissertation databases, conference archives, and reference lists of pertinent studies was conducted.
Results: Nine studies were included. No consistent differences were observed in the categories of core ASDs behaviors, cognitive function, or language. The studies suggest a potential bilingual advantage on nonverbal intelligence quotient scores, adaptive functioning, and expressive vocabulary.
Conclusion: There is no evidence of a detrimental effect of raising children with ASDs in a bilingual home.