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International Adoption Info

Newsletter #154 for Internationally Adopting Parents
October 25, 2011
PAL Center Inc.

Announcements

On September 1st, 2011
the BGCenter, New York has moved to the office
at

13 South Van Dyke Ave.
Airmont, NY 10901

The main BGCenter office is now in Phoenix, AZ
at

11024 North 28th Drive
Suite 200,
Phoenix, AZ 85029

Dr. Gindis
will continue to accept patients

in Airmont, NY and
in Phoenix and Sedona, AZ

INITIAL SCREENING

of your internationally adopted child
in the RUSSIAN, SPANISH and CHINESE Languages

is available in

New York

and

in the RUSSIAN and SPANISH Languages
in
Phoenix

Dr. B. Gindis
accepts patients
in

New York
from
October 22 to December 5, 2011
and in
Arizona
from
December 10, 2011 to
February 6, 2012

You receive this newsletter
as a former client or correspondent
of the Center for Cognitive-Developmental
Assessment & Remediation,
or a former student
of the BGCenter Online School,
or a user of the International Adoption Articles Directory.

Copyright@2006-2011

 

Latest Articles
from the

International Adoption Articles Directory
New Articles
Understanding the extent of speech and language delays in older internationally adopted children: Implications for School Based Speech and Language Intervention
Tatyana Elleseff MA CCC-SLP

According to US State Department statistics, over 11,000 children were adopted internationally in the year 2010, with 2,803 of those children being school-aged (between 5-17 years old). Despite a staggering 50% decline in overall inter-country adoptions in the last 10 years, statistics on adoption of older children continue to remain steady (appropriately 3,000 older children were adopted each year, for the past decade). (Retrieved from http://adoption.state.gov/about_us/statistics.php Jul 29, 2011).

Subsequent to the school aged child's arrival to US, one of the first considerations that arises, secondary to health concerns and transitional adjustments, is the issue of schooling and appropriate school based services provision. In contrast to children adopted at younger ages, who typically have an opportunity to acquire some English language skills before an academic placement takes place, older international adoptees lack this luxury. Unfortunately, due to their unique linguistic status, many school districts are at a loss regarding best services options for these children.

Despite the prevalence of available research on this subject, one myth that continues to persist is that older internationally adopted children are "bilingual" and as such should receive remedial services similar to those received by newly entering the country bilingual children (e.g., ESL classes).

It is very important to understand that most internationally adopted children rapidly lose their birth language, sometimes in as little as several months post arrival (Gindis, 2005), since they are often adopted by parents who do not speak the child's first language and as such are unable/unwilling to maintain it. Not only are these children not bilingual, they are also not 'truly' monolingual, since their first language is lost rather rapidly, while their second language has been gained minimally at the time of loss. Moreover, even during the transition period during which international adoptees are rapidly losing their native language, their birth language is still of no use to them, since it's not functional in their monolingual, English speaking only, home and school environments. As a result of the above constraints, select researchers have referred to this pattern of language gain, as "second, first language acquisition" (e.g., Roberts, et al., 2005), since the child is acquiring his/her new language literally from scratch.

This brings me to another myth, that given several years of immersion in a new language rich, home and school environments, most internationally adopted children with (mild) language delays will catch up to their non-adopted monolingual peers academically, without the benefit of any additional services.

This concept requires clarification, since the majority of parents adopting older children, often have difficulty understanding the extent of their child's speech and language abilities in their native language at the time of adoption, and the implications for new language transference. Research on speech language abilities of older internationally adopted children is still rather limited, despite available studies to date. Some studies (e.g., Glennen & Masters, 2002; Krakow & Roberts, 2003, etc) suggest that age of adoption is strongly correlated with language outcomes. In other words, older internationally adopted children are at risk of having poorer language outcomes than children adopted at younger ages. That is because the longer the child stays in an institutional environment the greater is the risk of a birth language delay. Children in institutional care frequently experience neglect, lack of language stimulation, lack of appropriate play experiences, lack of enriched community activities, as well as inadequate learning settings all of which have long lasting negative impact on their language development. It is also important to understand that language delays in birth language transfer and become language delays in a new language. These delays will typically continue to persist unless appropriate intervention, in the form of speech language services, is provided.

So what are the options available to parents adopting older school age children with respect to determination of their child's speech and language abilities?
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