Semin Speech Lang 2005; 26(1): 76-85
DOI: 10.1055/s-2005-864218
Copyright © 2005 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Continued Catch-Up and Language Delay in Children Adopted from China

Jenny A. Roberts1 , Karen E. Pollock2 , Rena Krakow3
  • 1Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences, Hofstra University
  • 2Professor and Chair, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • 3Associate Professor and Assistant Chair, Department of Communication Sciences, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
24 February 2005 (online)


Most internationally adopted children learn their new language rapidly after adoption. What is not known is whether these gains continue at the same developmental pace throughout the preschool years. To answer this question, the continued language development of the 10 lowest performers from a cohort of 55 preschool-aged children adopted from China was examined. All 55 children had originally been assessed approximately 2 years earlier as preschoolers. The purpose was to examine whether continued English language exposure resulted in greater gain scores on a battery of standardized speech-language tests normed on monolingual English speakers. The 10 lowest performers were retested on the same battery approximately 2 years later. Scores on the second testing were examined in two ways. First, the amount of gain made from first to second testing for each child was examined, and second, the low performers were compared with adopted children from the original cohort who were matched for age and duration of time in the United States. It was found that more than half of the low-scoring children made clinically significant gains on the second assessment, but that low performers as a group scored below the level of matched peers in the cohort, even after approximately 2 years of additional English language exposure.


Jenny Roberts, Ph.D. , CCC-SLP 

Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences, Hofstra University, Davison Hall

Hempstead, NY, 11549

Email: [email protected]