#107 for Internationally Adopting Parents
April 2, 2009
PAL Center Inc.
6th Annual Education Conference
STRATEGIES, POSITIVE OUTCOMES
FOR OUR CHILDREN
April 17-18 at
Texas Christian University
Fort Worth, TX
For more information
AND THE FAMILY
8:15 am - 5:30 pm
130 E. 59th st. Manhattan
Boris Gindis, Ph.D.
Ida Jeltova, Ph.D.
In Round Table
ADJUSTMENT OF OLDER INTERNATIONALLY ADOPTED
1:15 - 2:30 pm
For more information
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 a user of the International Adoption Articles Directory.
International Adoption Articles Directory
Failure to Thrive
non organic failure to thrive syndrome for a baby
Failure to thrive is a restriction in normal
physical development which might lead to slowdowns in the normal development
and normal maturation.
When a newly arrived post-institutionalized
child receives a diagnosis off failure to thrive, what does that
really mean to his new parents and family? In older adoptees, a diagnosis
like this can be devastating. Whereas most very young children with
this diagnosis "grow out of it" quickly with good food and
parental devotion, the damage done to an older child requires much more
intensive therapy to overcome. This is the story of one child who came
to America at age five years and received a diagnosis of Failure To
Thrive. You will follow the progression of therapies from developmental
pediatrician to Occupational Therapist to Psychologist and finally to
Language, and Educational Issues of Children Adopted from Overseas Orphanages.
Traditionally, in education and in cognitive psychology, the causes
of cumulative cognitive deficit have been attributed mostly (if not
exclusively) to a "culture of poverty," that is, to ongoing
cultural/educational deprivation resulting from poverty. In contrast
to this "single cause approach," the determinants of cumulative
cognitive deficit in international adoptees may be associated with a
combination of medical (e.g. failure to thrive syndrome), socio-economic
(neglect, abuse, poor nutrition), and cultural and educational deprivation
in early childhood. Consequently, the remedial efforts should be multifaceted.
Dr. Gindis answers
Q: We have
significant problems with home work assignments: our boys (9 and 11
years old) adopted nineteen months ago from a Ukrainian orphanage, are
not able to do it on their own and resist our help. Our relationships
are tense; we are spending ridiculous numbers of hours on homework which
is not healthy for all of us.
homework may be a new cultural territory for some orphanage residents:
there was no such activity in the orphanage-based schools (so-called
"school-internat" or boarding school) on the elementary school
level (grades 1 through 4). All school assignments there are completed
during long school hours and the rest of the day is filled with different
activities. In this case, it is difficult for a child to accept the
notion of continuation of the school at home where parents turn into
Second, homework is based on a self-directed, self-regulated behavior.
Unfortunately, post-institutionalized children are lacking exactly this
capacity: immature self-regulation is a "trade mark" of a
recent orphanage resident. Therefore, homework for them may be no less
that an acute distress.
Third, adoptive parents - as parents in general - are not the best teachers
for their own children in many cases: they do not have "teaching
authority" in their child's perception, may lack patience, may
not know the "tricks of the trade" of teaching, and/or the
right methods of helping their struggling child. As a result, completing
homework with parents may result in tears on both sides. But what is
more important, parents' tutoring can negatively affect attachment:
it may be confusing for a child who is not used to parent-child relationship
yet; thus parent's tutoring can foster tension and chronic conflict
What can be done? First, make an appropriate arrangement with the school.
Talk to teachers and school administrators explaining them that due
to the specificity of your situation you may be in a precarious situation
attempting to monitor and enforce your child's homework activity. Ask
for the suggestions, ask the school to modify/rearrange homework assignments
for your child, suggest introducing special time in the school day (earlier
in the morning, or during the recess, or after the school) when school
personnel will be working with your child on homework assignments.
If you can afford this, hire someone else to do homework with your children.
A visiting tutor will eliminate the danger of mal-attachment with you.
Educate yourself on this issue, carefully think through the logistics
of completing homework in your house, implement your plan wisely and
send e-mail to
with the subject: unsubscribe