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Psychological services for internationally adopted children
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    Initial Screening



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This is a developmental, psychological, and
educational examination of an internationally
adopted post-institutionalized child completed on arrival, in his/her native language (Russian) or in any other language with translator. This evaluation is done within the first several weeks in the US, while the native language is still fully functional.

The main goal of the screening is to determine the child's developmental and educational level of functioning for appropriate school (preschool) placement. This examination has to rule out possible cognitive limitations, learning disabilities, and speech and language impediments in the child's native language while these can not be mistaken for new language learning.

Depending on the child's age, the in-office part of this screening may take from 6-7 hours and is completed in one day. It includes a follow-up consultation with the parents on the results of the evaluation and proposed recommendations.

For the children who are educationally at risk and may need school placement below their age level and/or classroom accommodations and supportive services within the general education, a written report is prepared in several business days, suitable for presentation to your school and/or referral to other specialists.

For children who are found to be developing without significant delays and will catch up with their peers being placed at school according to their age or without formal remediation, an oral consultation with the explanation of the screening findings may be a sufficient lower cost solution.

There are certain limitations in this screening, particularly in respect to long-term emotional/behavioral issues (e.g.: attachment, post-traumatic stress disorder, ADHD, etc.). The initial screening procedure applies to cases when the collected data show that the child does not have an identifiable educational handicapping condition (as spelled out in Individuals with Disability Educational Act legislation) beyond delays typical for internationally adopted children, and the child does not require a formal educational classification needed for special education placement and/or services.
If the initial screening reveals an identifiable educational handicapping condition(s), a full psycho-educational assessment and/or specialized assessment (e.g.: speech and language) may be necessary. In this case the adoptive parents can decide (during the same office visit) on following through with a full assessment procedure for their child instead of screening.

Screening is based on the principles formulated in The Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing, developed jointly by APA, AERA, and NCME.

To collect information needed to achieve the above goals, the following tests and clinical procedures are used:

  • Review of the original adoption-related medical, legal and educational documentation.
  • Interview with the adoptive parents.
  • Quick Neurological Screening Test - Revised. (Clinical observations of neurological status, behavior and social interaction during testing).
  • NEPSY-ll Guidelines and Behavior Observations Tables.
  • The 4-Digit Diagnostic Guide for the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. (Standardized methodology for identification of FASD conditions with the computerized program of facial FASD features).
  • Universal Nonverbal Intelligence Test (UNIT). (Standardized test to determine intellectual potential without direct language involvement).
  • Bender VMG Test, 2nd edition and samples of handwriting and drawings to estimate visual processing, visual-motor integration, and grapho-motor skills.
  • The Bilingual Verbal Ability Test. (Test for cognitive/academic language, Chinese, Spanish, Russian and English forms).
  • An informal evaluation of the articulation and communicative fluency/pragmatics as well as reasoning and comprehension in the native language using country-specific educational examination procedures.
  • The Brigance Inventory of Early Development (a criterion-referenced inventory of pre-academic skills).
  • Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery, lll. (Tests of Achievement, Normative Update, four subtests: Calculation, Math Fluency, Applied Problems, and Quantitative Concepts).
  • The Bracken School Readiness Assessment Test (BSRA). (Translated and used as a non-standardized criterion-referenced test).
All screenings are done using the same methodology developed by Dr. Boris Gindis
Helpful information about the initial screening and preparation for it:


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