#71 for Internationally Adopting Parents
September 13, 2007
of preschool and school age
the Native Language
At the BGCenter we often hear the same question about the initial
screening which we now do in many languages: What are the benefits
of doing such assessment on arrival, and why not to wait and see
if the child needs it at all?
Here is the answer we arrived at through
many years of working with IA children.
Yes, you may be
lucky, and your child will be able to fit in and learn the new language
and culture without much help, as many immigrant children do. But,
what if several months later you will notice that things are not
entirely OK, but your child is not speaking native language any
longer, and the English is not coming easily, and the school keeps
telling you to wait and see because nobody can test your child at
this moment in any language?
To prevent this situation, a psycho-educational
screening in the native language of your child should be done on
- You will receive a document with written baseline
measurements of your child's developmental status, which the family
and school will be able to use for measuring your child's educational
progress and it's adequacy.
- Your child will be recommended an appropriate school
placement that reflects best practices with the internationally
adopted, not immigrant children. It will be based on your child's
individual developmental needs.
- You will be able to detect your child's possible
developmental problems early enough, when the new language learning
does not interfere yet.
- If significant problems are detected during the
initial screening, the remediation can begin immediately - before
the child learns English. In this case, your clinical report based
on the initial assessment is your document required by school
districts: free remedial services are provided on its basis.
From the editor
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A lot of selected information compiled by a parent for
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infection among international adoptees is rising. This puts everyone
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Adoption Information and News
Q. I would like to know
what age group you would recommend for adoption when it comes to language.
We have been approved to adopt a child 4-8 years of age. We also speak
French at home but are a minority group surrounded by English... My
biological youngest child is 10 years of age and I wouldn`t want to
have a big gap between them either.
A. Within the age group
you reference (4-8 years), the younger child will be much better adjusted
to multiple languages he/she will need to deal with than a child of
a school age. If you have a choice, select the youngest age group
possible: the child will have enough time to learn conversational/cognitive
French at home, before schooling. Select a French school for him as
well, because this will be his dominant language for cognitive activities
at home and it will be reinforced at school. New cognitive language
acquisition is the main effort for internationally adopted children,
and the parents should create an environment which is most conductive
to managing this challenge. When you see that there are no issues
and significant delays with French at school, you will be able to
work on the English language in the additive mode (it will not begin
to replace French, but rather will co-exist with it.) Otherwise, learning
two new languages on the background of a weak and disappearing native
language may be excessive for the normal child's development and may
cause series issues. As far as the difference in ages between a biological
and an adopted child goes, it's not important. It, in fact, will be
natural for the younger adopted child to look up to his older brother
and receive help from him as needed. It would be unnatural for both
kids to be close in age and differ tremendously in cultural and developmental
B. Gindis, Ph.D.
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