Article  |   August 2011
How Well Do Children Who Are Internationally Adopted Acquire Language? A Meta-Analysis
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Kathleen A. Scott
    Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
    Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
  • Jenny A. Roberts
    Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
    Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
  • Sharon Glennen
    Towson University, Towson, MD
    Towson University, Towson, MD
Article Information
Development / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Language
Article   |   August 2011
How Well Do Children Who Are Internationally Adopted Acquire Language? A Meta-Analysis
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2011, Vol. 54, 1153-1169. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/10-0075)
History: Received March 19, 2010 , Revised June 29, 2010 , Accepted December 18, 2010
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2011, Vol. 54, 1153-1169. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/10-0075)
History: Received March 19, 2010; Revised June 29, 2010; Accepted December 18, 2010
Web of Science® Times Cited: 4

Purpose: In this article, the authors present the results of a systematic and meta-analytic examination of the language outcomes of children who are internationally adopted. The study examined the questions of whether the early life experiences of children who are internationally adopted and the language switch that occurs after adoption hinder the acquisition of language skills.

Method: The authors selected available studies on the language acquisition of internationally adopted children using search strategies from both a comprehensive set of databases and manual searching of selected studies. Study eligibility criteria included (a) participants clearly identified as being internationally adopted, (b) measurable language outcomes were reported, (c) a control group or normative measure was used in the design of the study, and (d) effect size was reported, or data were provided to calculate effect size.

Results: The meta-analysis found that as a group, the children expressed great variability in their language skills. Overall, they were more likely to have poorer language outcomes than comparison children, but several moderating variables were found.

Conclusions: The results of the meta-analysis have direct clinical application regarding the assessment and treatment of language skills of internationally adopted children. The study also has implications for future studies of the language development of internationally adopted children.

Acknowledgments
We would like to thank Deborah Dolan of Hofstra University for her insight and assistance in database searching and database management required for this study. We would also like to thank Amy Louise Schwartz at the University of Texas–Dallas for her assistance in constructing graphs.
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