licensed in NY and NJ
now accepts patients
can plan a therapy session for their child and for themselves concurrently,
with Dr. Jeltova
working on your child's behavior and social skills
working on your own parental techniques and stress management skills
while you wait.
International vs. Domestic Adoption - Medical History
Birth parent information and/or medical history
is one major difference between foreign and domestic adoption.
Top 10 Secrets of Successful Adoption Travel
The adoption trip is a defining moment
in a familys life, the event that brings parent and child
together at last.
annuls 15 adoption cases
The 15 annulled cases represent nearly 10 percent
of the 160 cases that have been reviewed thus far. Another 2,126
must still be investigated.
You receive this
as a former client or correspondent
of the Center for Cognitive-Developmental
Assessment & Remediation,
or a former student
of the BGCenter Online School,
or as a user of the International Adoption Articles Directory.
International Adoption Articles Directory
What to Expect?
At the BGCenter, where
psychological screenings and assessments of all kinds are a daily working
routine, some clinical reports of school-based evaluations and even
private neuropsychological assessments still puzzle us: what was this
work done for if it can't help change anything for the child?
What kind of assessment
the parents of a delayed and struggling internationally adopted child
need and what they should expect to see in their clinical report?
Below are typical questions the adoptive parents usually ask us during
our free initial consultations on the phone.
was told I should do a neuropsychological assessment of my child, but
is there any difference with a psycho-educational evaluation?
A neuropsychological assessment
done at the BGCenter for a school-age child will assess these areas:
- General intellect
- Achievement skills, such as
reading and math
- Executive skills, such as organization,
planning, inhibition, and flexibility
- Learning and memory
- Visual-spatial skills
- Motor coordination
- Emotional functioning
- Behavior patterns and social
Some abilities may be measured
in more detail than the others, depending on the child's needs. A detailed
developmental history and data from the child's parents and teachers
may also be requested. Observing your child in order to understand his
or her motivation, cooperation, and behavior is a very important part
of this evaluation. The goal of a neuropsychological assessment is not
only to measure the level of functioning and separate skills, but to
determine the strengths and the ways these could be utilized to compensate
for the deficits. Neuropsychological assessment aims at understanding
the roots and the specific nature of the child's disability(s) caused
by deprivation, abuse, and psychological trauma typical for internationally
adopted children, while psycho-educational assessment tends to obtain
an overall picture of psychological and educational abilities of the
child in order to improve an overall school functioning of this student.
Will a number of tests the clinician will
use be a guarantee that the entire assessment is not a wasted time and
No. We have seen the reports
of neuropsychological assessments where dozens of tests were administered,
but they are still useless in the long run. All tests are just instruments,
tools of the trade. Some are better than others and can provide with
more data, but it is up to the professional who uses these instruments
to give an interpretation and explanation. Thus it's crucial for the
professional working with your child to have experience with, be knowledgeable
of, and be sensitive to the issues related to institutionalization and
international adoption in order to be able to interpret the data. Even
when the history of the child is known, it is difficult for a psychologist
who has never dealt with internationally adopted children's issues to
change his/her set of mind and to re-examine the ways of assessing and
interpreting the results.
What should be the outcome of a neuropsychological
assessment of a school age child?
In plain words, this kind of assessment must provide parents with a
clear, structured and implementable plan of how to work with your child
at school and in the family in the next 12-18 months to address his/her
developmental and educational needs. Some experts, being skillful clinicians,
may still be unfamiliar with special education procedures and the linkage
between assessment and intervention in schools. They may end up with
purely medical diagnoses and/or unrealistic, vague and irrelevant recommendations,
which will be rejected by your school as inappropriate. Other clinicians,
and we have seen a fare share of such reports too, will give you an
endless list of recommendations that are not structured, pretty much
"one size fits all" type, and which would take up 25 hours
a day if indeed implemented.
What can be done to insure that a clinical report
that concludes a neuropsychological assessment is useful for schools,
and the parents are well informed about what has to be done after they
receive the report?
it is with everything else:
- Do a good research before
you commit to any assessment: the time lost on a useless procedure
cannot be recovered for the child.
- Make sure that your chosen
specialist is qualified for the job, experienced with the issues
of internationally adopted children, and is capable and willing
to analyze the developmental history of your child (sometimes it's
really a huge amount of documentation). A lot of problems are rooted
in this history; underestimating the child's history leads to direct
misinterpretation of the existing problems.
- Get a clear and detailed explanation
of what is going to happen, and if the goals you have in mind for
this evaluation will be addressed by the professional. At the BGCenter,
we spell out the details (referral issues and goals of an evaluation)
in writing in order to insure that we do exactly what the parents
expect us to do.
- Remember that the ultimate
goal of an assessment is the recommendation plan tailored to your
child's specific situation and implementable by the educational
institution of your child. Ask your clinician if he/she has experience
with school related procedures and regulations to write a report
that can withstand the school's critical review.
From the editor