Tue, Nov 16, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Study finds that children of foreign brides are `slow'

CNA , CHIAYI

About 90 percent of the children of foreign brides of Taiwanese citizens suffer slowness in cognition and language development, the Chiayi Christian Hospital (CCH) reported yesterday.

CCH specialists called for the overseas spouses and their Taiwanese families not to let these young children, the so-called "new Taiwanese," miss the most crucial time of their treatment due to adults' ignorance or a language barrier.

There are about 300,000 foreign brides in the country and their number is increasing, mostly as a result of marriages arranged by venal cross-border marriage brokers, CCH specialists said.

Under this system, overseas young women, mostly from poor families in Southeast Asian countries, can fly into Taiwan for two weeks or a month and get married in a very short time.

Language barriers may be the root of many problems for foreign brides and their children, which range from abusive husband-wife relations, confrontations with mothers-in-law, and educational difficulties for the children. But other factors, including a lack of sufficient time for the foreign brides to develop mutual understanding with their Taiwanese families; large cultural differences and lack of social support, have also contributed to the mothers of the "new Taiwanese" finding themselves without help and stuck in difficult situations.

The Chiayi Christian Hospital, which joined with 12 other social groups and medical institutions to form the Around Taiwan Health Care Alliance this year, recently conducted a poll of therapists, psychologists and social workers around the country to investigate the plight of foreign brides and their "new Taiwanese" children.

The poll found that 62 percent of the respondents believe that social and psychological factors are the prime reasons causing the "new Taiwanese" to suffer in their development.

Some 37 percent of the respondents pointed to congenital diseases and genetic abnormalities as reasons behind cognitive and linguistic slowness.

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