Special Issue "The Cognitive Effects of Bilingualism in Developmental Disorders"

A special issue of Languages (ISSN 2226-471X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 July 2022 | Viewed by 1084

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Stephanie Durrleman
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
The Linguistics Department, University of Geneva, 1205 Geneva, Switzerland
Interests: autism spectrum disorder; developmental language disorder; bilingualism; theory of mind; executive functions; language acquisition; syntax

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Bilingualism has been reported to confer advantages in cognitive domains such as Executive Functions and Theory of Mind (Adesope et al., 2010; Bialystok, 2011; Schroeder, 2018). These areas may be specifically impaired in subgroups of children with developmental disorders (DD), including but not limited to those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Developmental Language Disorder (DLD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Down syndrome (DS) (Yirmiya et al., 1996; Happé et al., 2006; Korkmaz, 2011; Crisci et al., 2021). While research indicates that children with DD can successfully acquire two languages (Kay-Raining Bird, 2016), work specifically exploring the cognitive effects of this linguistic experience is scarce. The findings of such work would be of both theoretical and practical relevance: theoretically, they would shed new light on the language-cognition interface, and practically, they would allow parents of children with DD to make evidence-based decisions regarding dual language exposure. 

This Special Issue of Languages thus welcomes investigations of the effects of bilingualism on the cognitive abilities of children with DD. We request that, prior to submitting a manuscript, interested authors initially submit a proposed title and an abstract of 400-600 words summarizing their intended contribution. Please send it to Stephanie Durrleman ([email protected]) or to the /Languages/ editorial office ([email protected]). Abstracts will be reviewed by the guest editor for the purposes of ensuring proper fit within the scope of the Special Issue. Full manuscripts will undergo double-blind peer-review. 

The tentative completion schedule is as follows:

  • Abstract submission deadline: 15 January 2022
  • Notification of abstract acceptance: 15 February 2022
  • Full manuscript deadline: 15 July 2022


Adesope OO, Lavin T, Thompson T, Ungerleider C. 2010. A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Cognitive Correlates of Bilingualism. Review of Educational Research 80(2):207–45.

Bialystok E. 2011. Reshaping the mind: The benefits of bilingualism. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology/Revue canadienne de psychologie expérimentale, 65(4):229–35.

Crisci, G., Caviola, S., Cardillo, R., & Mammarella, I. C. 2021. Executive Functions in Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Comorbidity Overlaps Between Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder and Specific Learning Disorders. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 15, 594234. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2021.594234

Happé F, Booth R, Charlton R, Hughes C. 2006. Executive function deficits in autism spectrum disorders and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: examining profiles across domains and ages. Brain Cogn., Jun;61(1):25-39. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2006.03.004. Epub 2006 May 6. PMID: 16682102. 

Kay-Raining Bird, E., Genesee, F., and Verhoeven, L. 2016. Bilingualism in children with developmental disorders: a narrative review. J. Commun. Disord. 63, 1–14. doi: 10.1016/j.jcomdis.2016.07.003

Korkmaz, B. 2011. Theory of Mind and Neurodevelopmental Disorders of Childhood. Pediatr Res 69, 101–108. https://doi.org/10.1203/PDR.0b013e318212c177

Schroeder, R. Scott. 2018. Do Bilinguals Have an Advantage in Theory of Mind? A Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in Communication, 3: 36.

Yirmiya, N., Solomonica-Levi, D., Shulman, C., & Pilowsky, T. 1996. Theory of mind abilities in individuals with autism, Down syndrome, and mental retardation of unknown etiology: the role of age and intelligence. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines, 37(8), 1003–1014. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.1996.tb01497.

Prof. Dr. Stephanie Durrleman
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Languages is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Bilingualism
  • Developmental Disorders
  • Theory of Mind
  • Executive Functions

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Nonverbal Switching Ability of Monolingual and Bilingual Children with and without Developmental Language Disorder
Languages 2022, 7(2), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7020108 - 28 Apr 2022
Viewed by 422
Bilingualism is associated with enhanced switching skills, while a developmental language disorder (DLD) may negatively impact switching ability. However, both studies with bilinguals as well as studies including children with DLD have revealed mixed results. Moreover, the interaction of bilingualism and DLD has [...] Read more.
Bilingualism is associated with enhanced switching skills, while a developmental language disorder (DLD) may negatively impact switching ability. However, both studies with bilinguals as well as studies including children with DLD have revealed mixed results. Moreover, the interaction of bilingualism and DLD has not been addressed and the origin of the stronger or weaker switching performance is unknown. The current study aimed to fill these gaps. Monolingual and bilingual children with and without DLD (n = 32 in each of the four groups) completed a nonverbal color/shape switching task when they were 7 to 8 years old, and a Continuous Performance Task two years earlier. The latter tapped into their response inhibition and sustained attention skills, which may underlie switching ability. No differences between monolinguals and bilinguals were found on the switching task. Children with DLD had higher mixing costs than peers without DLD, which was driven by differences in sustained attention skills. These results add to the body of research indicating that the cognitive advantages of bilingualism are unstable. Additionally, the results substantiate the hypothesis that attention processes are foundational for complex cognitive skills, such as switching, and suggest cascading effects for children with weaker attention skills, such as children with DLD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Cognitive Effects of Bilingualism in Developmental Disorders)
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