Thursday, September 13, 2012

Language Development & Research

Several studies have tried to determine whether language acquisition in internationally adopted children will follow the same patterns as children who haven't lived in an orphanage with multiple caregivers. Research by Joy Geren, Jesse Snedeker, and Laura Ax stated that vocabulary increased as the length of time that a child had lived with their adoptive family increased. They felt the child's age at adoption did not predict vocabulary size. They noted that the early stage of vocabulary growth in internationally adopted preschoolers was very rapid. Of the children that they studied, children who had only been with their adoptive families for three months had acquired a vocabulary equivalent in size to that of an average 24 month old. The 24 month old infant would have been speaking for at least a year to acquire the same vocabulary size.

Between three and nine months post-arrival, children progressed as much as average developing children between the ages of 24 and 30 months.

The pattern of acquisition was the same for adopted and non-adopted preschoolers, with children learning nouns, and then adding verbs to their vocabulary when their vocabulary had been 50 and 200 words. Verbs and adjectives then continued to increase. As would be expected, there was a correlation between the size of vocabulary and the complexity of the children's utterances.

Research by Rena A. Krakow, Shannon Tao, and Jenny Roberts compared two groups of children. One group had been adopted as infants and the second group was adopted as toddlers. While they found the older the child at adoption, the greater the delays that could be expected, most of their subjects appeared to be catching up after one year post-adoption.

Sharon Glennen and M. Gay Masters did research to try to develop guidelines to identify the internationally adopted children that are in need of speech and language services. They studied 130 children adopted from Eastern Europe. They divided children into four groups depending on their age at adoption: less than 12 months, 13-18 months, 19-24 months, and 25-30 months. Language emerged quickly for each of their groups, but there the older the child was, the more time it took. Their youngest group was delayed by 5 or 6 months, and had average skills approximately 24 months post-adoption. The second group still had delays at 36 months. The third group was delayed one to three months after 18 months with their adoptive family. The final group still had delays after 37-40 months with their adoptive families.

Hopefully, as more research is published, there will be greater understanding about the needs of our children.

1 comment:

Ray said...

One area that makes a difference in vocabulary development is parental interaction. Children who had parents who interacted with them verbally and read to them showed great vocabulary as well as cognitive development. This showed how culture could impact cognitive development.