Nataly Lim, who is studying Autism and Developmental Disabilities, and Mark O’Reilly, chair of the Department of Special Education, along with three other scholars evaluated 18 studies examining the effects of heritage language instruction on treatment outcomes for individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders. Should Heritage Languages be Incorporated into Interventions for Bilingual Individuals with Neurodevelopmental Disorders? A Systematic Review was published in the latest issue of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
Heritage languages are languages bilingual children typically learn at home. Current special education policies recognize the need for developing and preserving the heritage languages of people with disabilities. However, there appears to be a disconnect between policy and practice.
The authors found that, overall, there was a small effect favoring interventions delivered in the heritage language versus interventions delivered solely in the majority language. The researchers call for additional support so that practitioners can develop more effective intervention programs.
The Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders is the leading peer-reviewed, scholarly periodical focusing on all aspects of autism spectrum disorders and related developmental disabilities.