Language Development in School-age Children Adopted from Haiti: A Longitudinal Study

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  • The language development of children adopted internationally is a topic of growing interest, however, most studies have investigated children adopted from China or Eastern Europe. This project is a follow-up study that explored the language development of school-age children who were adopted from Haiti between the ages of 6 and 43 months. Seventeen participants had been assessed at 2 to 7 years of age in previous studies conducted by University of Alberta MSc-SLP students. Thirteen of these children were re-assessed at 7 to 12 years of age for the current study. They were given a battery of standardized tests to evaluate vocabulary, receptive and expressive language, narrative comprehension/expression, and reading abilities. Results were compared with established norms for these tests, which provided an indication of the participants’ development in comparison to a general population of monolingual, non-adopted children. Each participant’s follow-up results were also compared to their performance on similar measures in the previous study. As a group, the children performed within the average range for language development, however, considerable variability existed among individual scores and some children had areas of concern. The children’s school-age scores were weakly to moderately correlated with the earlier measure of receptive vocabulary and moderately to strongly correlated with earlier measures of expressive/receptive language. The language scores for 3 children were consistently lower during the school-age years compared to the preschool years while 10 children showed little change. Overall the results indicate that language skills at school-age continue to be comparable to those of monolingual non-adopted peers.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International