Predicting Language Outcomes for Internationally Adopted Children Purpose Language and speech are difficult to assess in newly arrived internationally adopted children. The purpose of this study was to determine if assessments completed when toddlers were first adopted could predict language outcomes at age 2. Local norms were used to develop early intervention guidelines that were evaluated against ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2007
Predicting Language Outcomes for Internationally Adopted Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sharon L. Glennen
    Towson University, Towson, MD
  • Contact author: Sharon L. Glennen, Department of Audiology, Speech-Language Pathology, and Deaf Studies, Towson University, 8000 York Road, Towson, MD 21252. E-mail: sglennen@towson.edu.
Article Information
Development / Special Populations / Early Identification & Intervention / International & Global / Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2007
Predicting Language Outcomes for Internationally Adopted Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2007, Vol. 50, 529-548. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/036)
History: Received February 28, 2005 , Revised January 27, 2006 , Accepted July 27, 2006
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2007, Vol. 50, 529-548. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/036)
History: Received February 28, 2005; Revised January 27, 2006; Accepted July 27, 2006
Web of Science® Times Cited: 35

Purpose Language and speech are difficult to assess in newly arrived internationally adopted children. The purpose of this study was to determine if assessments completed when toddlers were first adopted could predict language outcomes at age 2. Local norms were used to develop early intervention guidelines that were evaluated against age 2 outcomes. Patterns of language emergence were also analyzed.

Method Twenty-seven children between 11 and 23 months of age adopted from Eastern Europe were followed from adoption through the 1st year home. Results from initial assessments using the Communication and Symbolic Behavior Scales—Developmental Profile (CSBS–DP; A. Wetherby & B. Prizant, 2002) and MacArthur Communicative Development Inventory—Words and Gestures (MCDI–WG; L. Fenson et al., 1993) were compared against speech and language outcomes 1 year later when the children were 2 years of age.

Results By age 2, receptive language and articulation were developing well; expressive language was still emerging. Initial assessment using the CSBS–DP Behavior Sample and MCDI–WG Words Understood Developmental Quotient predicted age 2 language outcomes. Early intervention guidelines based on these 2 measures had strong positive and negative likelihood ratios (LR) when using age 2 outcomes as the criteria (LR+ = 21.00; LR− = .00). Six of the 27 children (22%) had slow language development in comparison to their peers.

Conclusion Newly adopted children with delays on prelinguistic and vocabulary comprehension measures were highly likely to have slow language development at age 2. Initial assessments of these abilities should be used to make early intervention decisions.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by a Faculty Development Research Grant from Towson University. The parents who brought their children to Towson University for multiple assessments are gratefully thanked. I would also like to thank the many graduate speech-language pathology students who assessed the children; Karen Pottash for making the program work within the Towson University Speech and Hearing Clinic; and Mark Pellowski, who provided critical in-house reviews of early drafts of this article. Finally, I appreciate all of the help from students who diligently checked reliability, recoded language samples, and rescored tests: Rachel Tracy, Ariella Rosinsky-Grunhut, Colleen Campbell, Rebecca DiCocco, Heatherann Schwartz, and Kacey McMeekin.
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