Language Loss in Internationally Adopted Children Increasingly, more older children are being adopted from out of the country. These children arrive with few, if any, English language skills, into an environment with no first language (L1) support. Most frequently, L1 contact comes to an abrupt stop, literally within hours. The question “Why should speech-language pathologists ... Article
Article  |   February 01, 1997
Language Loss in Internationally Adopted Children
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Christen M. Pearson
    Indiana University at Bloomington
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Articles
Article   |   February 01, 1997
Language Loss in Internationally Adopted Children
Perspectives on Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations, February 1997, Vol. 3, 5-8. doi:10.1044/cds3.1.5
Perspectives on Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations, February 1997, Vol. 3, 5-8. doi:10.1044/cds3.1.5
Increasingly, more older children are being adopted from out of the country. These children arrive with few, if any, English language skills, into an environment with no first language (L1) support. Most frequently, L1 contact comes to an abrupt stop, literally within hours.
The question “Why should speech-language pathologists even be concerned with this?” arises. Some of these children experience significant difficulties learning English. The adoption agencies are not familiar with English as a Second Language (ESL) issues, most teachers are not familiar with these issues, and the parents are certainly not expecting such problems.
Personal letters from adoptive parents reveal their concern. One parent wrote: “I have a 5 year old with developmental delays from the Philippines…. No one seems to know how best to help him and I am extremely frustrated because I feel so helpless and ignorant as well.” Another parent wrote, “We live in a very small town (location omitted) where educators are completely stumped as to what to do with us. The school personnel would like us to teach her to speak English before she (age 13) is placed into the public school system here.” A third parent wrote, “I have recently adopted an 11-year-old boy from Viet Nam [sic]. My school district hasn’t a clue and I am having a difficult time finding information.”
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