Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/11473
Second Language Acquisition and Autism
Current research on language development and bilingual development suggests that good proficiency in the first language (L1) is a prerequisite for acquiring a second language (L2). Documentation from the Icelandic State's Diagnostic and Counselling Centre seems to challenge this assumption, as a number of children who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), and that have delayed or impaired L1 development, seems to have very good proficiency in English, which is their L2. This study examined the data available for three ASD teenagers that fit in this group. The subjects have a history of delayed or impaired L1 acquisition and their L2 proficiency was determined to be significantly better than their typical development (TD) peers. These findings call for further study using more rigorous tests and evaluation measures with a larger number of participants. The findings of this study either challenge contemporary language acquisition theories or call into question the assumption that ASD children have delayed L1 development; or thirdly that only the L1 production facility (the L2 language production) in the brain might be affected by the disorder and not the area in the brain that is thought to be common to both L1 and L2 which processes language reception.