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      Autism and dual immersion: sorting through the questions


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          The dual immersion (DI) model of bilingual education, which focuses on educating language-minority and majority students side by side using the two languages in roughly equal proportions, is gaining popularity. And yet, students with disabilities – even those who are already multilingual – are routinely steered away from such programs in favor of English-only special education options. The paper aims to discuss these issues.


          This paper explores the potential benefits and challenges associated with including multilingual students with autism in DI classrooms, beginning with an exploration of literature related to students with autism who are also multilingual learners (MLLs) (irrespective of educational placement), followed by a small body of literature on the inclusion of students with disabilities in general in DI programs, and finally an analysis of the characteristics of DI classrooms to extrapolate about the ways in which this environment might be both supportive of and challenging for students with autism.


          The analysis reveals that DI programs are simultaneously well positioned (theoretically) and ill equipped (practically) to effectively support MLLs who are also on the autism spectrum.


          In spite of mounting evidence that being multilingual may advantage children with autism, very little scholarship has even raised the question of whether students with autism might benefit from participation in bilingual programs where academic instruction is delivered in two languages ( Beauchamp and MacLeod, 2017; Durán et al., 2016 ; Marinova-Todd et al., 2016 ; Seung et al., 2006 ). This paper identifies practical implications related to including students with autism in DI programs and suggests directions for future research.

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          Most cited references53

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          Issues in bilingualism and heritage language maintenance: perspectives of minority-language mothers of children with autism spectrum disorders.

          Betty Yu (2013)
          The author investigated the language practices of 10 bilingual, Chinese/English-speaking, immigrant mothers with their children with autism spectrum disorders. The aim was to understand (a) the nature of the language practices, (b) their constraints, and (c) their impact.
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            Family-centred practice: collaboration, competency and evidence

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              Pragmatic language profiles of school-age children with autism spectrum disorders and Williams syndrome.

              To describe and compare the pragmatic language profiles of school-age children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and Williams syndrome (WS) on a standardized measure to determine whether a standard pragmatics tool can differentiate between 2 groups of children with opposing social presentations and pragmatic language difficulties. Twenty-two parents of school-age children with ASD, 21 parents of school-age children with WS, and 19 parents of school-age typically developing children rated their child on the Children's Communication Checklist-Second Edition (CCC-2; D. Bishop, 2003), a standardized pragmatic language assessment tool. Both clinical groups demonstrated impairment in overall communication and pragmatic language functioning, but children with WS performed significantly better on overall pragmatic language functioning, and the magnitude of the effect was medium. Profile examination revealed equivalent performances between ASD and WS on most CCC-2 subscales; however, significantly better performances on the Coherence, Stereotyped Language, Nonverbal Communication, and Social Relations subscales were observed in WS. The CCC-2 appears to provide an effective means to identify and characterize pragmatic language difficulties using a standardized approach in children with ASD and WS.

                Author and article information

                Advances in Autism
                Emerald Publishing
                06 September 2018
                25 October 2018
                : 4
                Issue : 4 Issue title : Inclusive educational practice for autistic learners Issue title : Inclusive educational practice for autistic learners
                : 174-183
                [1]Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, New York, USA
                [2] Texas A&M University – Commerce , Commerce, Texas, USA
                Author notes
                Diana Baker can be contacted at: baker@hws.edu
                615956 AIA-05-2018-0019.pdf AIA-05-2018-0019
                © Emerald Publishing Limited
                : 31 May 2018
                : 31 May 2018
                : 30 July 2018
                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 54, Pages: 10, Words: 5443
                Self URI (journal-page): http://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/aia.htm
                e-conceptual-paper, Conceptual paper
                cat-HSC, Health & social care
                cat-LID, Learning & intellectual disabilities
                Custom metadata

                Health & Social care
                English language learners (ELL),Dual immersion,Developmental disability,Inclusion,Autism,Education


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