Étudiante-chercheure étoile August 2014

Audrey Delcenserie

PhD student in Psychology
McGill University

Award-winning publication: Language and memory abilities of internationally adopted children from China: Evidence for early age effects

Published in: Journal of Child Language, 29:1-29, 10-2013


"Language acquisition in children who were adopted internationally is particular. First language attrition (loss) and the deferred acquisition of an adoptive language constitute language acquisition risk factors. Our study assessed the adoptive language development of internationally adopted children several years after their adoption and compared the children's performances to those of children matched on age, sex and socioeconomic status. Our results showed that internationally adopted children experience language difficulties that persist over nine years after their adoption. Our project also thoroughly evaluated the memory of children adopted from abroad, highlighting the fact that they experience specific challenges linked to verbal memory. The study is the first to convincingly suggest that attrition and very short language acquisition delays can lead to language and verbal memory difficulties."

The research conducted by Audrey Delcenserie confirms that children who are adopted internationally experience language and verbal memory difficulties that may be caused by language acquisition delays and first language loss. The results will impact parents, speech professionals and teachers by elucidating the issues and the means to better help children overcome them. The work will also benefit children who learn a second language after the age of three, hearing-impaired children with implants and children who suffer from severe ear infections, since they often experience language delays and/or the attrition of their first language.