ABCCD - Autism, Bilingualism, Cognitive & Communicative Development
The Autism, Bilingualism, Cognitive and Communicative Development (ABCCD) group of the University of Fribourg focuses on both Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders today, and bilingualism, which is currently more common than monolingualism. Parents of children with ASD often fear that bilingualism may be too difficult for their children, but preliminary studies suggest that bilingualism can enhance areas specifically affected by the autistic condition. Nevertheless, research at the intersection between bilingualism and autism remains sparse and presents limitations that make it difficult to generalize the reported results to children across the spectrum.
The work of the ABCCD aims to uncover if and how bilingualism can be beneficial for the development of cognition and communication in children with, and without, ASD. We will carry out unprecedented large-scale, longitudinal study, involving various European collaborations, to shed light on skills that are negatively affected by ASD may potentially be boosted by bilingualism.
Scientific and social implications of the project
The ABCCD findings promise not only theoretical implications, thanks to uncovering new ways that experience shapes the mind, but also practical applications, thanks to shaping evidence-based language policies for the autistic community.