I woke up this morning to find this comment on my last post:
Elaine, my educated guess (as a second language learner myself and a former ESL teacher) is that Quinn is in the classic ’silent period’ of second language acquisition. Language begins to map right away and the proof comes quickly with parroting. There is a level of comprehension that comes with the parroting, but it’s always followed by a silent period whether it’s short and unnoticeable or longer like Quinn’s. The silent stage looks like regression and occurs in all language learners just before early production begins. The length of each stage is unique for all learners, but they all follow the same stages to fluency. I know it’s odd to think of Quinn as a second language learner at such a young age, but he’d been mapping VNese since birth and started all over in March.
I agree that you should rule out possible physical reasons for Quinn’s silence, but I’d also be careful if you decide to look into early intervention. Make sure your specialist understands second language learning and is able to tell the difference between normal acquisition and a language processing disorder.
I hope some of this made sense. I’m ridiculous tired and really have no business commenting past 8 pm.
First I just want to say, no, it isn’t odd to think of Quinn as a second language learner at all. He was almost 11 months old when he left the orphanage and less than a month away from his first birthday when he finally hit American soil. I hope all parents who adopt internationally understand that their children are having to switch languages, even if they are somehow just a few months old when they come home, and have never uttered a word in their lives.
Secondly, I had never heard of the “silent period.” As much as I have read, as many people as I have talked to over the course of two adoptions, I don’t ever remember hearing about this; and I think it is very, very important information for us to have (which is why I’m sharing it as its own post, which makes the password on my last post pretty moot, but I really think this concept is just too important not to share).
Third, thank you, thank you, thank you Gina for sharing your knowledge! As I keep an eye on the situation this is something to keep in mind; and as I go forward with testing and intervention, if necessary, this is knowledge that will help me better advocate for appropriate care.
In the meantime, I’m just going to keep cleaning all that “wax and junk” out of his ears and take the password off the last post.
And George, if you’re out there, Tewt the Newt says hello.