Language Development In Children Whose First Language Is Not English: How Services Help

When you adopt a child from another country, you will find that a language barrier exists. A child of three or four has already started to learn his or her native language, and English is both foreign and frightening for your adopted child to hear. Thankfully, you can enroll your newly-adopted child in language development services. Here are some of those services and how they can help.

The Birth to Three Program

Almost all states sponsor a "Birth to Three" or "Early Intervention" program that assists children with speech delays. While your adopted child does not necessarily have a speech delay, he or she does have a deficit in English. This would qualify him or her for one of these two programs. You may need a referral from your pediatrician. Otherwise, you may also have your child tested at special testing sites within your school district in order to get a referral to one of these two programs.

Working with Your Child at Home

Many speech and language development specialists know that an adopted child is already experiencing a lot of confusion, from being moved from an orphanage into a home with parents he/she does not recognize. As such, these specialists make it a point to come to you. They will determine at the first visit how many hours of therapy your child may need, and then schedule the therapy sessions in two-week blocks. Because your child does not speak English, he or she may need several sessions to start, and these will taper off as he/she begins to speak English a little more fluently.

Additionally, if your child speaks English with an accent, the specialists will work with him/her via accent modification programs so that he/she can be understood more clearly by his/her peers. Usually, these exercises are introduced as your child begins speaking more in English and less in his/her native language. The accent may return if your child chooses to study his/her native language when he/she gets older.

Providing You with Materials That Can Help

Along with the programs and the in-home visits, the specialists will provide you with materials and tools that can help you every day. Apps that translate what your child says into English, flash cards to learn English words, and learning toys that speak both English and your child's native language can all help you learn to communicate with each other. As you spend time playing and teaching your adopted child, you will also be able to bond, which definitely helps your child adapt his/her language skills.

For more information, contact companies like Evergreen Speech & Hearing Clinic, Inc.