Early adolescent outcomes of institutionally-deprived and non-deprived adoptees. II: language as a protective factor and a vulnerable outcome.
ABSTRACT There is uncertainty about the extent to which language skills are part of general intelligence and even more uncertainty on whether deprivation has differential effects on language and non-language skills.
Language and cognitive outcomes at 6 and 11 years of age were compared between a sample of 132 institution-reared Romanian children adopted into UK families under the age of 42 months, and a sample of 49 children adopted within the UK under the age of 6 months who had not experienced either institutional rearing or profound deprivation.
The effects of institutional deprivation were basically similar for language and cognitive outcomes at age 6; in both there were few negative effects of deprivation if it ended before the age of 6 months and there was no linear association with duration of deprivation within the 6 to 42 month range. For the children over 18 months on arrival (range 18-42 months), the presence of even very minimal language skills (imitation of speech sounds) at the time of arrival was a strong beneficial prognostic factor for language and cognitive outcomes, but not for social/emotional/behavioural outcomes. Individual variations in adoptive parent characteristics were unrelated to differences in language or cognitive outcomes, possibly as a consequence of the limited variability in the adoptive family group.
Minimal language probably indexes some form of cognitive reserve that, in turn, indexes the degree of institutional deprivation.
SourceAvailable from: Adriana Sampaio[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Why do some institutionalized children develop indiscriminate behavior (IB) while others do not? Considering children with Williams syndrome (WS) may provide an answer because IB has been observed routinely among individuals with this rare genetic neurodevelopmental disorder. By conceiving WS as a natural genetic model that mimics the indiscriminate phenotype and, more importantly, is associated with the deletion of genes in a specific region, we propose an integrative conceptual framework that underscores the dynamic developmental interplay between genes, endophenotypes, and environment. In this article, we consider the etiology of IB among institutionalized children, which emphasizes environmental factors, followed by the effect of such behavior on WS children's hypersociability, which highlights the crosstalk between genes and neuropsychological features in programming their distinctive social‐emotional and behavioral phenotype. We propose new hypotheses regarding the etiopathogeny of IBs in institutionalized children, particularly the prediction of specific Gene × Environment interactions.Child Development Perspectives 09/2013; 7(3). DOI:10.1111/cdep.12036 · 1.56 Impact Factor
Article: VI. SENSITIVE PERIODS[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: This chapter reviews sensitive periods in human brain development based on the literature on children raised in institutions. Sensitive experiences occur when experiences are uniquely influential for the development of neural circuitry. Because in humans, we make inferences about sensitive periods from evaluations of complex behaviors, we underestimate the occurrence of sensitive periods at the level of neural circuitry. Although we are most interested in complex behaviors, such as IQ or attachment or externalizing problems, many different sensitive periods at the level of circuits probably underlie these complex behaviors. Results from a number of studies suggest that across most, but not all, domains of development, institutional rearing limited to the first 4-6 months of life is associated with no significant increase risk for long-term adverse effects relative to noninstitutionalized children. Beyond that, evidence for sensitive periods is less compelling, meaning that "the earlier the better" rule for enhanced caregiving is a reasonable conclusion at the current state of the science.Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development 12/2011; 76(4):147-162. DOI:10.2307/41408760 · 5.50 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Before adoption to Canada, children from Romanian orphanages experienced conditions of global deprivation. In this study, we examined the communicative interactions of 4-year-old children adopted from Romania with their adoptive mothers and those of age-matched Canadian-born children. In general, children who had spent more than 8 months in a Romanian orphanage (later adoptees; n = 27) did not differ in the types of communicative intents produced in unstructured interactions from their earlier-adopted peers (n = 21). Later adoptees did produce more acknowledgment utterances, fewer praise utterances, and more requests than the Canadian-born children (n = 27). Mothers of later-adopted children adopted from Romanian orphanages used more frequent regulatory language than mothers of earlier-adopted or Canadian-born children. Mothers’ increased regulation of their child’s activity through language was related to their child’s attachment style and attention difficulties, which significantly differed between the child groups. The results demonstrate that children’s characteristics can influence caregivers’ communicative behaviors. Importantly, results suggest that children from adverse conditions adopted into healthier environments do not show long-term differences in pragmatic or social language usage. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science 01/2014; 46(1):9. DOI:10.1037/a0033916 · 0.46 Impact Factor