Since China opened for international adoption in 1992, over 50,000 children have been adopted from China into North American families.  The majority are healthy infant girls, adopted between approximately 8 and 20 months of age. 

Parents and professionals often have questions about the acquisition of (English) language skills in children adopted from China.  Parents want to know whether their child is acquiring English at a normal rate, or whether they should seek services from early intervention programs or a speech-language pathologist.  Professionals need information about the typical course of language development in this group of children to know how to interpret assessment results and provide appropriate recommendations to parents.  Given that the children have experienced an abrupt switch in language environment (from Chinese to English) and may have delays in other aspects of development as a result of living in an orphanage, it is expected that there will be a period of adjustment while the children tune in to the sounds and rhythms of their new language and begin to understand and speak English.  But how long should this take?  At what point should we expect them to “catch up” to children born & raised in a monolingual English environment?

As a child language researcher, speech-language pathologist, and mother of a daughter adopted from China, I have both personal and professional interests in these issues.  For the past 5 years, I have been developing a line of research addressing speech and language development in children adopted from China (and other Asian countries).  This web site contains information about the background and rationale for this research, recent and ongoing projects, a list of references, and links to other researchers and resources.

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Karen E. Pollock, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Professor and Chair
Department of Speech Pathology & Audiology
University of Alberta
E-mail: karen.pollock@ualberta.ca

Child Phonology Laboratory


June 2008  Speechwoman