Latino immigrants’ children fall behind peers, study shows October 28th, 2009

HOUSTON — The children of Hispanic immigrants tend to be born healthy and start life on an intellectual par with other American children, but by the age of 2 they begin to lag in linguistic and cognitive skills, a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkley, shows.
The study highlights the paradox that has bedeviled educators and Hispanic families for some time. By and large, mothers from Latin American countries take care of their health during their pregnancies and give birth to robust children, but those children fall behind their peers in mental development by the time they reach grade school, and the gap tends to widen as they get older.
The new Berkley study suggests the shortfall may start even before the children enter preschool, supporting calls in Washington to spend on programs that coach parents to stimulate their children with books, drills and games earlier in their lives.