International Adoption Info

Newsletter #109 for Internationally Adopting Parents
April 30, 2009
PAL Center Inc.


Coming Soon to
the BGCenter Online School:
New online classes
for parent's support
after the adoption

    Online class PC1
    The first year home: What to expect and how to respond

    Dr. Patty Cogen, the author of the book
    Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child--from your first hours together through the teen years.

    Online class SJM1
    Adopting a Child From Birth to Three Years Old

    Jean Roe Mauro, LCSW and Sara-Jane Hardman, the authors of the book
    If I love my kid enough

Internet Digest

Arleta James, PCC
Sensitively Moving the Older International Adoptee
Prospective adoptive families may experience a better transition when they keep in mind that institutionalized children have learned about group living not about family life. In general,orphanage life has a culture of its own.

Dorinne S. Davis -Kalugin, MA, CCC-A, FAAA, RCTC, BARA
Hearing Hypersensitivities Can Impact Learning
There are many types of hypersensitivities to sound demonstrated by: crying when the vacuum is on, screaming when a fire alarm goes off, covering the ears when there are too many people in the room, shutting out or tuning out when there is too much sound to process, turning the TV volume up, refusing to go into a bathroom, covering the ears when there appears to be few sounds around, and/or noticing an airplane’s presence 10 minutes before everyone else. The adopted child, more specifically those from international adoptions or drug dependent mothers, often exhibits the previously mentioned symptoms.

You receive this newsletter
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.



Latest Articles
from the

International Adoption Articles Directory

New Articles
Advocating for the Child (Continued)
Elizabeth S. Davidson
Responding to the Article: Hearings & Due Process in Massachusetts
Is it true that when a hearing goes all the way to a final determination, the school districts "win" more than they lose?

I just received your newsletter and enjoyed reading "Hearings and due process in Massachusetts" by Elaine MacDonald.

I noticed, however, a significant assumption Ms. MacDonald makes in her reasoning where she states "These stats indicate to me a couple of things: School districts do come up with something acceptable to most parents -- 7,401 IEP rejections result in only 618 hearing requests which result in only 34 full hearings."

What Ms. MacDonald fails to explore in these MA-DOE statistics is:

How many families are dissatisfied with their IEP, but do not know or understand what their recourse is? Or are just so exhausted by their children, the status quo, or their daily lives that they don't have the heart to do battle with a system that is stacked against them?

How many families who rejected their IEP were then advised by their advocate or lawyer (as we were) that the law states we must prove the district-recommended placement would prevent satisfactory access to, or progress in the state curriculum, which is very difficult to do without actually putting the child in the recommended placement and then waiting for him/her to fail, thereby wasting precious years and doing untold damage to the child?

How many families were advised by their lawyer (as we were) that we could fill a boat with money we will never get back, and spend it fighting the district with a very high risk of still not getting the services our child actually needs. Or, we could take that boatload of money and spend it on a private placement, get the child what he needs, when he can best benefit from it (the younger/sooner the better).

Some much more interesting statistics to know would be: Of all of the Special Education schools and programs in Massachusetts, as well as the "regular-ed" independent schools that have special-ed programs embedded within them, how many of the students enrolled are being paid for by their parents? How many homeschoolers of children with special education needs removed their children from school because of dissatisfaction with the IEP and/or the services offered? How many families agree to the school district's IEP, and then object to the placement recommendation? How many agree in principle with the IEP, only to be frustrated by the district not sticking to it's own provisions? How many families use their time and money to pay for private tutoring, instead of hiring a lawyer to file for a hearing and fight for services from the public school?

Just to give you a small (anecdotal) glimpse into what the numbers could possibly be, in my small neighborhood of about 20 houses, there are three families (there may be more, these are just the ones that I know of) who are paying for their children to go to The Carroll School in Lincoln, MA, The Landmark School in Beverley, MA, and Eagle Hill Academy in Hardwick, MA. I, myself, have two children with special education needs whom I have chosen to homeschool out of frustration with the IEP/special education process. Also in my town, there are two private elementary schools, both of which have embedded special education programs for children with language-related learning disabilities. For additional tuition, one may apply for a seat in these programs. They are paid for by the parents of the children attending, not by the district. Both programs are full, with waiting lists. None of the families I know, including mine, accepted their IEP. None of them, including mine, filed hearing requests.

And, none of this addresses the needs of gifted students who, technically, are also supposed to fall under the category of Special Education. But in Massachusetts there is no requirement to provide funding or programming for gifted education. That population goes uncounted in the DOE statistics because in this state they have no standing to request an IEP, much less be counted among those who are dissatisfied with the services offered.

I believe Ms. MacDonald's simplistic conclusions drawn from the statistics creates a misleading, inaccurately "rosey" picture of the state of parental satisfaction with the IEP process in Massachusetts. For a more in-depth understanding of this specific subject, please go to

And, even if you may be lucky enough to craft a satisfactory IEP, for an understanding of who may be responsible for implementing it, and what their qualifications are, please read here:, as well as other articles from the National Council on Teacher Quality

This is, at best, a frustrating system. It is expensive and broken. Our children, and therefore our society, are not being served by it. Statements that the system is "doing something acceptable to most parents" inhibit efforts at reform.

Shelly Brown
Easing a Child’s Fear of the Dentist
A dentist’s chair can be a little frightening for children. It’s easy to understand why so many kids are afraid of the dentist. It’s your job as a parent to help them conquer their fears, because if they don’t – it could have a permanent effect on their smiles. Regular check-ups can help your child avoid cavities and dental work – such as veneers later in life. Helping your child get over or even avoid a fear of the dentist is paramount for strong and healthy teeth as well as developing good dental habits.


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