B. Gindis, Ph.D.
I wrote articles and spoke about school
issues of internationally adopted children many times because schooling
is the major activity of a child between 5 and 18: it affects all other
aspects of their psychological functioning. Success or failure at school
are critical not only for the future achievements of a child, they are
a validation (or a lack of it) of self worth, the basis for a peer group
selection and acceptance in it. School activities are on the background
of emotional and behavioral stability in the family. No wonder that parents
of IA children do everything they can to get help at school for their
struggling children, and this, unfortunately, is not a straightforward
In order to secure a set of consistent and effective remedial
services and an appropriate educational environment for your child in
school, you have to obtain an "educational classification"
for your child. What is the meaning of the notion of educational classification?
First and foremost: it is a designation of educational handicapping
condition and a description of the specific educational needs of your
There is a difference between educational classification
and medical diagnosis.
A medical diagnosis is made by a medical doctor
or a licensed psychologist. It is a determination of physical
and/or mental health condition that must be listed in professional documents,
such as DSM-lV-TR. An example of such diagnosis could be: Autism, Anxiety,
ADHD, etc. In some cases diagnosis is a life-long condition (e.g.: autism),
in some it can be a temporary condition (e.g.: articulation disorder).
An educational classification is a determination
of current educational needs and could be changed as required. In my
practice, I had cases when within several years I had to amend classification
due to childs changing needs for remediation or when the initial
goals were achieved. It is important to know that educational classifications
are limited in number (13 all in all) and are listed in the major educational
law called IDEA. These classifications are broad in scope, are rather
vaguely defined, and are assigned by your school-based educational personnel.
In my experience, most often used educational classifications
given to IA children are:
Learning Disabled (LD)
Speech/Language Impaired (SLI)
Other Health Impaired (OHI)
Emotionally Disturbed (ED)
More articles and references on educational classification from Dr. Gindis