Abstract / Description of output

Bilingualism changes how people relate to others, and lead their lives. This is particularly relevant in autism, where social interaction presents challenges. Understanding the overlap between the social variations of bilingualism and autism could unveil new ways to support autistic people. This research aims to understand the language learning and social experiences of mono-, bi- and multilingual autistic people. A total of 297 autistic adults (mean age = 32.4 years) completed an online questionnaire including general demographic, language history and social life quality self-rating items. The sample included 89 monolingual English speakers, 98 bilinguals, and 110 multilinguals, with a wide range of language profiles. Regression models were used to analyse how bilingualism variables predicted social life quality ratings. In the full sample, age negatively predicted social life quality scores while the number of languages known positively predicted social life quality scores. In the multilingual subset, age negatively predicted social life quality scores, while third language proficiency positively predicted social life quality scores. This is the first study describing the language history and social experiences of a substantial sample of bilingual and multilingual autistic adults. It provides valuable insight into how autistic people can learn and use a new language, and how their bilingualism experiences shape their social life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136236132093784
JournalAutism
Early online date17 Jul 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020

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