Megan Gross

UMass Assistant Professor Megan Gross
Assistant Professor
Department of Communication Disorders | School of Public Health & Health Sciences
317 Communication Disorders Building

Project Title: Predictors of Cognitive and Linguistic Skills in Bilingual Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: The Role of Dual-Language Input

For the family of a child receiving a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), there are many questions, concerns, and stressors. Families that do not speak English at home face additional challenges associated with a lack of information and intervention resources available in their home language and uncertainty about how to best support the language needs of their child. The available research demonstrates that exposure to two languages does not have a negative effect on the language outcomes of children with autism and may in fact have some positive effects on cognitive skills that tend to be difficult for children with autism (mental flexibility, recognizing the thoughts and feelings of others can be different from our own). However, past research has tended to focus on comparing monolingual and bilingual children. The goal of this project is to examine how different types of bilingual language environments (e.g., languages separated by speaker vs. both languages used in the same sentence) can affect cognitive outcomes and the linguistic skills of children with ASD in both of their languages.

Selected Publications:

  • Gross, M., Lopez, E., Buac, M., & Kaushanskaya, M. (2019). Processing of code-switched sentences by bilingual children: Cognitive and linguistic predictors. Cognitive Development, 52, 100821. doi: 10.1016/j.cogdev.2019.100821

  • Crespo, K., Gross, M., & Kaushanskaya, M. (2019). The effects of dual-language exposure on executive function in Spanish-English bilingual children with different language abilities. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 188, 104663doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2019.104663

  • Gross, M., & Kaushanskaya, M. (2018). Contributions of nonlinguistic task-shifting skills to language control in bilingual children. Bilingualism: Language & Cognition21(1), 181-194. 

  • Gross, M., & Kaushanskaya, M. (2015). Voluntary language switching in English-Spanish bilingual children. Journal of Cognitive Psychology27(8), 992-1013.