Bgcenter logo
Center for cognitive-developmental assessment and remediation
Psychological services for internationally adopted children
Psychologist Dr. Gindis Newsletter Archives Online School Articles Directory Publications of Dr. Gindis

A bilingual psycho-educational evaluation of a child on arrival is difficult to overestimate: it can help avoid a lot of future problems for the child and the family: you can rule out learning disability in the native language (or confirm it) and measure the actual developmental and educational status of your child before the native language disappeared and the process of learning of the new language can interfere. Your child may become eligible for the additional (special education services) from the very beginning without waiting for years when the problems escalate and the child is acknowledged as having problems and can at last be tested in the English language.

The question is: can parents have it done with the help of their local education system, rather than paying for the evaluation themselves? A lot depends on the parents: you need to advocate for your child and convince the school that your internationally adopted child is in a very specific situation, and as such he or she has the right for an appropriate psychological evaluation in the native language.

A template letter requesting a bilingual psycho-educational evaluation on arrival in the child's native language could be used by parents before the final trip to bring the child home. Modify and adjust this sample to your specific situation and deliver the letter to the school - this will be a good first step in building a remedial and supportive system for your child in school.

To: Mr. X, Principal,
George Washington Elementary School
Anytown, Any State 01234

Dear Mr. X:

We are in the process of adopting the child from a Russian orphanage. His name is Ryan and he will be 8 years old in June. We are planning to bring him home on June 21 and to enroll in your school - which is our zoning school - within a week on his arrival.

We were advised by the orphanage director and our adoption agency that Ryan is a typical orphanage-raised child of a normal intelligence who has delays in academic and language skills. We are concerned that these delays may have negative impact on Ryan's educational performance and overall adjustment.

By this letter I am formally requesting that the school's special education screening process begins on Ryan's arrival. This assessment for possible special accommodations and/or services is to be done as soon as possible for the following reason.

On arrival, Ryan will be a monolingual (Russian only) child. All tests and other evaluation materials used to assess Ryan are to be provided and administered in Ryan's native language which is Russian. It is my understanding that I have the right to this request as mandated by IDEA 34 CFR 300.532(a)(ii) which says that tests and other evaluation materials used to assess a child are provided and administered in the child's native language. Ryan will be living in a monolingual-English family and attending English language school. We know from other parents' experience and up-to-date research that within a very short period of time Ryan will begin to lose his native language. Therefore, if there is any substantial delay before assessment, then our capacity to provide relevant information about Ryan's potential and his present level of functioning will be severely compromised if not rendered impossible.

I hope that your school has all necessary resources to accomplish this bilingual psycho-educational evaluation of a child with "atypical" background in a timely fashion. Since I do appreciate the challenge of assessing Ryan, I wish to offer my assistance in helping to find the needed resources. I am already aware of the availability of a bilingual licensed psychologist who is specializing in an assessment of internationally adopted children. His name is Dr. Z, his office is located in ABC county, and his phone # is: 000-000-0000. You may learn about his credentials and experience visiting his website at

In Ryan's case "time is precious." For that reason, I will be calling you as soon as you receive this letter so that we may begin coordinating the needed steps for the assessment plan. I will be leaving for Russia on June 12th. I would like to hear from you before this date about your proposed steps in evaluation of my son-to-be Ryan. I truly believe that we can meet this challenge before us and I look forward to working with you and your staff. You can contact me by the phone at: 000-000-0000 or e-mail

Mrs. Y.


Psychological services for internationally adopted children. Copyright ©1998-2022