Internationally Adopted Children in the Early School Years: Relative Strengths and Weaknesses in Language Abilities Purpose This study aimed to determine the relative strengths and weaknesses in language and verbal short-term memory abilities of school-age children who were adopted from Eastern Europe. Method Children adopted between 1;0 and 4;11 (years;months) of age were assessed with the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals—Preschool, Second Edition ... Research Article
Research Article  |   January 01, 2015
Internationally Adopted Children in the Early School Years: Relative Strengths and Weaknesses in Language Abilities
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sharon Glennen
    Towson University, Towson, MD
  • Disclosure: The author has declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The author has declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Sharon Glennen: sglennen@towson.edu
  • Editor: Marilyn Nippold
    Editor: Marilyn Nippold×
  • Associate Editor: Linda Larrivee
    Associate Editor: Linda Larrivee×
Article Information
Development / School-Based Settings / International & Global / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Research Articles
Research Article   |   January 01, 2015
Internationally Adopted Children in the Early School Years: Relative Strengths and Weaknesses in Language Abilities
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2015, Vol. 46, 1-13. doi:10.1044/2014_LSHSS-13-0042
History: Received May 23, 2013 , Revised March 29, 2014 , Accepted August 25, 2014
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2015, Vol. 46, 1-13. doi:10.1044/2014_LSHSS-13-0042
History: Received May 23, 2013; Revised March 29, 2014; Accepted August 25, 2014
Web of Science® Times Cited: 1

Purpose This study aimed to determine the relative strengths and weaknesses in language and verbal short-term memory abilities of school-age children who were adopted from Eastern Europe.

Method Children adopted between 1;0 and 4;11 (years;months) of age were assessed with the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals—Preschool, Second Edition (CELF–P2) and the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals, Fourth Edition (CELF–4) at age 5 and ages 6–7. Language composites and subtests were compared across time.

Results All CELF–P2 and CELF–4 mean scores fell in the average range. Receptive composites were 102.74 and 103.86, and expressive composites were 100.58 and 98.42, at age 5 and ages 6–7, respectively. Age of adoption did not correlate to test scores. At ages 6–7, receptive language, sentence formulation, and vocabulary were areas of strength, with subtest scores significantly better than test norms. Verbal short-term memory and expressive grammar subtest scores were within the average range but significantly worse than test norms. A high percentage of children scored 1 standard deviation below the mean on these 2 subtests (27.3%–34.1%).

Conclusion Eastern European adoptees had average scores on a variety of language tests. Vocabulary was a relative strength; enriching the environment substantially improved this language area. Verbal short-term memory and expressive grammar were relative weaknesses. Children learning a language later in life may have difficulty with verbal short-term memory, which leads to weaknesses in expressive syntax and grammar.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by a faculty development grant from Towson University. The Towson University Speech, Language, and Hearing Center provided space and infrastructure for the assessments. The families who brought their children to Baltimore for multiple visits are thanked for their participation and continuing involvement with the project. Finally, the numerous speech-language pathology graduate students who conducted all of the assessments are thanked for their assistance.
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