1887
Volume 12, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1878-9714
  • E-ISSN: 1878-9722
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Abstract

Abstract

One of the most crucial decisions to make for parents of children with Autism in Ghana (just like for others in most bilingual and multilingual environments) is what language(s) to use with their children. This study was conducted to first investigate the state of Autism in Ghana and then to unravel the language choices that parents make for their children and the factors that influence the choices they make. Through interviews, the use of observation and questionnaires, members of Autism Action Ghana, a support group for parents with children on the spectrum, were studied as a Community of Practice, as well as using Bourdieu’s concept of Cultural Capital. Data analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively revealed that Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is still a generally unknown and misconceived condition that receives no major government attention, so that parents are left with finding very expensive and limited support for their children on their own. 77% of the 35 respondents use only English with their children because of the advice they receive from therapists, in addition to the fact that all therapies available are in English, the fear of further delaying speech in their non-verbal children should they use more than one language, and the belief that English has more currency and will take their children further in life as compared to their indigenous languages, among others. One of the implications of the choice of English is that the children will eventually become functionally monolingual in a multilingual country and thus will be left with no choice when it comes to language.

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2021-06-03
2021-09-24
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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): autism; bilingualism; community of practice; cultural capital; Ghana; language choice
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