I am trying to arrange
a neuropsychological evaluation for my son. I was told by our Director
of Special Education Services, that our school district has a list of
fine neuropsychologists, but none with any specific knowledge of IA
children. She wants to understand why we need an evaluator with an expertise
in IA children before she can grant us permission to seek an outside
neuropsychologist. Would you be so kind to explain in a few words why
a background in IA children is so essential?
From a message of the parent of an internationally adopted child.
Dr. B. Gindis
First, I would like to refer you to two our recent newsletters
where this issue is discussed:
To summarize: if a specialist has no prior experience
with this very special population, he/she could be easily confused with
post-institutionalized children and may either overlook or dismiss an
important issue. How can it happen?
When you bring your IA child to the office of a psychologist,
the professional sees a well-groomed and nicely dressed child accompanied
by a "regular" middle-class, well-educated parent. If this
child lived in the country over a year, his conversational English would
be indistinguishable from his peers. So, in the psychologist's perception,
this is a typical family with may be serious but still "typical"
issues. Even when the history of a child is known, it is difficult for
a psychologist, who never dealt with the metamorphosis of post-institutionalized
children, to change his set of mind and to re-examine the ways of assessing
and interpreting the results. It is especially obvious in the assessment
of developmental disabilities and issues related to language processing.
On the other hand, a professional specializing with internationally
adopted children and speaking their native language (especially important
on arrival of the child), is able to:
- Read and properly interpret original medical documentation
that may contain invaluable information about the child's early history
and neurological impairments diagnosed in the country of origin.
- Recognize the presence of such rarely dealt with in
the US conditions as Alcohol-related Neuro-Developmental Disorder
(known also as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome), Failure-To-Thrive, and other
medical conditions that may have educational and behavioral implications.
- To distinguish between institutional behavior (learned
behavior) and the symptoms of organically-based disorders, such as
autism or a host of behavioral and emotional disorders.
- To recognize a possibility of post-traumatic stress
disorder related to the early childhood trauma.
- To understand the implications of an abrupt first language
loss by the child and the dynamic of the English language learning
on this child's academic and social functioning.
- To determine the presence of cognitive, language, academic,
and social/emotional consequences of early childhood deprivation and
institutionalization, e.g.: detect a cumulative cognitive deficit
in the child.
- To develop a remedial plan that is comprehensive (medical
rehabilitation, educational remediation, social/emotional healing)
but focused on the specificity of an IA student's educational and
- When an IA child just arrived, a bilingual and natively
fluent in the targeted language specialist can do initial evaluation
in the child's native language that becomes the foundation for the
child's remediation from the beginning of his life in the US.
Hardman and Jean Roe Mauro, LCSW
dialogue with a family in distress
How often do the adoptive parents who poured
their lives into their children, as the mother writes, find themselves
in a situation when, in the moment of high emotions or simply right
out of the blue, their children turn against them, distance themselves,
accuse them of perceived wrongdoing, cruelty, and other impossible things?
Not so rarely, unfortunately. In this dialogue with such family in trouble,
the authors of the book
If I Love My Kid Enough: The Reality of Raising an Adopted Child
Sara-Jane Hardman and Jean Roe Mauro talk about how it happens with
those who were abandoned young and how long any path to healing is.
Online class: Adopting
a child from birth to three years old
Course authors and instructors:
Jean Roe Mauro, LCSW and Sara-Jane Hardman
- How do babies develop in the womb?
- What can I do to ensure that my adopted child gets
a good start in life?
- What are the developmental steps that occur from birth
to age 3?
- How do I provide a healthy and stimulating environment
for my adopted child?
- How is parenting different for an adoptive parent?
- How do I know if my child is developing as expected?
Get the answers to these questions and
many more. Prepare yourself for doing the best parenting job you can
and earn credit while you do it.