International Adoptions & Speech Language Services
Smart Speech Therapy LLC specializes in providing comprehensive speech language assessment and intervention services for internationally adopted children with speech, language and communication delays, as well as psychiatric and neurological impairments.
Internationally adopted children are at high risk for developmental delay because of their exposure to institutional environments. Children in institutional care often experience neglect, lack of language stimulation, lack of appropriate play experiences, lack of enriched community activities, as well as inadequate learning settings all of which has long lasting negative impact on their language development (especially if the child is over 3 years of age).
We offer assessments in the child’s native language immediately post-adoption which help to determine the extent of the delay/impairment. Such immediate assessments are important because they help to establish a baseline of child’s linguistic functioning.
Additionally, we offer comprehensive assessment and intervention services to children who have been adopted for years but are still presenting with speech and language deficits. These deficits negatively impact their functioning in social and academic settings and therefore require remediation.
Are you aware that according to NJ parental rights in special education (page 8) if you have doubts that your child will be assessed fairly or disagree with the school district’s evaluation/reevaluation results, you are entitled to ask for an independent evaluation of your internationally adopted child.
You can request such evaluation if you determine that the evaluation by the district was not performed correctly or did not provide you with the information you were seeking. You particularly have grounds for requesting such an evaluation if the therapist who assessed (or will be assessing) your Internationally Adopted child had limited or no experience in working with Internationally Adopted children.
Did you know that:
- Most internationally adopted children rapidly lose their birth language, sometimes in as little as several months post arrival (Gindis, 2005), since they are often adopted by parents who do not speak the child’s first language and as such are unable/unwilling to maintain it.
- IA children do not need to be placed in ESL classes since they are not bilingual children and not only are IA children not bilingual, they are also not ‘truly’ monolingual, since their first language is lost rather rapidly, while their second language has been gained minimally at the time of loss.
- A child’s mastery of the birth language is a good predictor of the rate of learning the new language.
- Many professionals make an error of assuming that internationally adopted infants and toddlers will not be affected by cross-linguistic interference because the children have just begun to learn the birth language at the time of adoption, before the attrition of birth language occurred. However, due to a complex constellation of factors, language delays in birth language transfer and become language delays in a new language.
- “Any child with a known history of speech and language delays in the sending country should be considered to have true delays or disorders and should receive speech and language services after adoption.” (Glennen, 2009, p.52)
- In order to determine the degree of speech language delay of your newly adopted IA child, an initial speech and language assessment in the child’s birth language may be necessary. Not only can such assessment determine the type and degree of delay but the therapist can also make recommendations regarding the necessity of further services/treatments.
- Children who have been adopted for many years and have been doing “well” all that time can still present with language related difficulties years post adoption.
- Some children may also present with Cognitive Cumulative Deficit, a decreased ability to benefit from related services (ST, reading recovery, resource room, etc ) because they are having difficulty cognitively catching up to the increasing academic demands of the classroom resulting in a “chronic mismatch between a child’s learning capacity and his/her academic placement , teaching style, and level of instruction” (Gindis, 2006)
- The initial ease with which even language delayed IA kids pick up English is called Communicative Language Fluency (CLF) or the language used in social situations for day-to-day social interactions, which usually emerges in IA children as early as several months post adoption.
- However, what IA children do need to master is Cognitive Language Mastery (CLM) which is language needed for formal academic learning. This includes listening, speaking, reading, and writing about subject area content material including analyzing, synthesizing, judging and evaluating presented information. This level of language learning is essential for a child to succeed in school. In contrast to CLF, CLM takes years and years to master, especially because, IA children did not have the same foundation of knowledge and stimulation as bilingual children in their birth countries.
Workshop Title: Speech and Language Challenges of Internationally Adopted Children: Guidelines for Adoptive Parents and Professionals
Workshop Description: Institutionalization affects every child’s speech-language development. Signs of delay can be obvious or obscure; show immediately or years later. Speech-language screening, evaluation, and reevaluation may be necessary for appropriate diagnosis and treatment. This workshop will review major feeding/swallowing/oral motor, speech and developmental language milestones. It will discuss how to identify warning signs of speech language delay in different age groups (birth-3, preschool, elementary, middle and high school age children), shortly after the time of adoption as well as outline signs of atypical speech language development post adoption in above populations (including specific areas at increased risk: auditory processing and social pragmatic language development). The workshop will also describe appropriate speech language assessment strategies (based on age) unique to internationally adopted children, teach participants how to implement relevant language facilitation methods to improve the child’s speech language abilities post-adoption, as well as list free informational resources available to parents and professionals.
Workshop Title: Recognizing Speech-Language Deficits of Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Implications for Assessment and Treatment
Workshop Description: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE), Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (pFAS), Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorders (ARND), Static Encephalopathy Alcohol Exposed (SEAE) and Alcohol Related Birth Defects (ARBD) are all names for a spectrum of disorders caused by prenatal maternal alcohol consumption. While statistics on FAS vary significantly it is estimated that 1 out 1000 births are affected by FAS. Limited information exists among professionals regarding how FASD related language deficits manifest in children, how they should be assessed, and what type of language based intervention should be provided in order to improve these children optimum capacity for functioning in academic and social settings. This workshop will describe physical, neuropsychological and behavioral aspects of FAS, explain how prenatal alcohol exposure affects brain development and postnatal function, outline how signs of FASD related speech-language deficits manifest in children of different age groups (birth-3, preschool, elementary, middle and high school age children). Finally the workshop will instruct participants on how to select assessment batteries to test these children’s speech/language/communication abilities as well as how to design functional and relevant intervention services for this population.
Workshop Title: Understanding Executive Function Impairments in At-Risk Pediatric Populations: Implications For Professionals and Parents.
Workshop Description: Executive Functions (EF) are higher level cognitive processes involved in inhibition of thought, action and emotion (including self-regulation, task initiation, task organization and planning, cognitive flexibility, working memory and recall, etc). While the refinement of executive functions continues to develop through adolescence and onto young adulthood, the development of executive functions begins in early infancy. However, these emerging executive functions can be effortlessly disrupted by a number of adverse environmental and organic experiences (disease, trauma, psycho-social deprivation, etc) which may often result in subsequent impairment of various executive functions. This workshop is aimed at increasing the participants knowledge regarding aspects of executive functioning in children. It will describe the role of speech language pathologist in assessment and treatment of executive function in pre-school, school-age and adolescent children. The workshop will also discuss various risk factors affecting executive function development in children. It will teach participants to utilize the latest formal and informal assessment instruments to assess executive functions in children as well as how to provide children with impaired executive functions with optimized intervention services.
Workshop Title: Inattention, Hyperactivity and Impulsivity in At-Risk Children: Differential Diagnosis of ADHD in Speech Language Pathology
Workshop Description: Inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are the most common presenting behavioral problems in at-risk children (internationally and domestically adopted children, victims of abuse and neglect, etc). This workshop will discuss select speech language causes of hyperactivity and inattentiveness in children and teenagers beyond the ADHD diagnosis, including traumatic brain injury, auditory processing disorders, severe language disorders, as well as social pragmatic language deficits. Workshop participants will be able to describe multiple speech-language causes of inattentiveness, impulsivity and hyperactivity in at risk children, identify which formal and informal assessment batteries can be used for determination of differential diagnosis, as well as be able to create various treatment hierarchies for optimum intervention effectiveness.
Workshop Title: Assessing Children Who Speak Russian: Milestones in Speech Language Development from Birth to 6 years of age. NEW
Workshop Description: This course is designed for monolingual and bilingual speech language professionals who are asked to assess and treat monolingual and bilingual Russian speaking children. This workshop will discuss how to provide effective evidence based practice diagnostic and treatment services to this population. It will review evidence-based information on typical and atypical language acquisition patterns of your Russian speaking children, discuss normal developmental progression of dual language learning, explain how language impairment signs manifest, as well as provide strategies for developing sound and language assessment procedures for typical and atypical Russian speaking learners.
Workshop Title: Behavior Management Strategies for Speech Language Pathologists and School Based Professionals
Workshop Description: In recent years more and more school based speech-language pathologists have to work with children who present with behavioral deficits in conjunction to speech-language delays/impairments. A significant portion of work with these children in therapy sessions involves successful management of inappropriate behaviors such as excessive inattention, hyperactivity, aggression, opposition/non-compliance and/or apathy, which interferes with successful objective completion and goal attainment. This workshop will explain what type of common challenging behaviors can manifest in children with select communication, psychiatric, and neurological disorders. It will outline behavior management strategy hierarchy from most to least intrusive methods for students with differing levels of cognitive functioning (high-average IQ to varying levels of MR). It will list positive proactive behavior management strategies to: prevent inappropriate behaviors from occurring, increase students’ session participation as well as improve compliance and cooperation during therapy sessions.
Workshop Title: Assessing Social Skills in Children with Psychiatric Disturbances
Workshop Description: The number of children who present with non-spectrum emotional, behavioral, and psychiatric disturbances (oppositional defiant disorder, mood disorder, etc) has been steadily increasing in recent years. Many of these children attend district schools as well as receive services through private providers. Due to high incidence of communication issues associated with these conditions, speech language pathologists are frequently among the professionals who assess them. This presentation is aimed at increasing the participants’ knowledge regarding the role of speech language pathologists in the assessment of social pragmatic language abilities of school-age children with psychiatric impairments. After this course, participants will be able to describe the impact of psychiatric disturbances on language development of children, list common pediatric psychiatric (non-autistic) diagnoses affecting language abilities, describe the role of SLP in assessment of pragmatic language and social cognitive abilities of school-age children, list formal assessment instruments used to assess pragmatic language and social cognitive abilities of school age children as well as describe informal assessment procedures used to assess pragmatic language and social cognitive abilities of school age children.
Workshop Title: Improving Social Skills in Children with Psychiatric Disturbances
Workshop Description: This course is aimed at increasing the participants’ knowledge regarding the role of SLPs in the treatment of social pragmatic language disorders of school-age children with psychiatric impairments. It will review social pragmatic treatment approaches which can be used for children with psychiatric impairments, explain the functions of common challenging behaviors, as well as list a number of proactive behavioral intervention approaches professionals can implement to decrease challenging behaviors and increase compliance and cooperation in therapy sessions. After this course, participants will be able to identify social pragmatic deficit areas of children with psychiatric impairments, describe components and targets of successful social skills treatments, as well as identify materials that can be used to address relevant social pragmatic treatment goals.
Workshop Title: Early Parental Identification of Speech-Language and Feeding Difficulties in Young Adopted Children
Description: This workshop describes major milestones of normal speech language and feeding development as well as lists signs of speech-language delay in IA children. It teaches participants how to promote advocacy for their child to obtain necessary services, as well as discusses professional, school based, and community resources available to parents to help remediate/facilitate their child’s delayed speech- language and/or feeding abilities
Workshop Title: Improving Language Abilities of Adopted Preschool Children: Functional Strategies for Parents
Description: This workshop provides an overview on how to facilitate development of language skills in internationally adopted preschool children. It offers easy to use implementation strategies for parents as well as lists useful free and low cost resources.
Workshop Title: Improving Language Abilities of Adopted School-Age Children: Functional Strategies for Parents
Description: This workshop describes fun and functional ways of improving your adopted school-age child’s language abilities. It describes the hierarchy of language acquisition skills as well as offers ideas and suggestions for successful implementation of strategies to increase your child’s cognitive language mastery and promote maximum learning success.
To request a speaker for your organization call us at the number provided on our website.