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International Adoption: Impact on Speech and Language Abilities

Most internationally adopted (IA) children transition between languages after adoption. The birth language rapidly disappears and is replaced by a new language. This process is known as second first-language learning. The length of time needed to reach proficiency in the adopted language varies with age. Most children adopted under 12 months of age transition quickly and achieve expected milestones in their new language by 15 to 18 months of age. Older children have more to learn and need more time to reach age-level expectations in their adopted language. This entry discusses two factors that influence language acquisition for internationally adopted children: (a) timing, or when a child is exposed to a new language, and (b) the orphanage environment.

Timing

Across all children, language comprehension in the ...

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