International Adoptions

International Adoptions & Speech Language Services

Smart Speech Therapy LLC specializes in providing comprehensive speech language  and literacy assessments 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 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.

We also provide phone consultations for clients who live outside Smart Speech Therapy LLC geographical area (e.g., non-New Jersey residents) who are interested in comprehensive specialized in-depth consultations and recommendations regarding what type of follow up speech language services they should be seeking/obtaining in their own geographical area for their internationally adopted children.

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. To obtain a letter template, requesting an independent educational evaluation from a school district with Smart Speech Therapy LLC, please contact us via phone or email.  

 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.
  • 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.
Smart Speech Therapy LLC offers WORKSHOPS, PRODUCTS  AND ADVOCACY SERVICES to school districts, parent support groups as well as other relevant organizations on speech language abilities as well as on related difficulties of INTERNATIONALLY ADOPTED CHILDREN. To request a consultation or obtain a speaker for your organization call us at the number provided on our website.