International Adoption Info

Newsletter #134 for Internationally Adopting Parents
August 28, 2010
PAL Center Inc.


Dr. Gindis will accept patients in his Phoenix, AZ office on his next trip in December 2010 and January 2011
Call 845-694-8496
for details
Anger and Behavior:
What to do with Them,
What to do with Me?

1. Take a class

New Class
for Postadoption Help
Behavioral and Attachment Issues

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

Course Program

2. Take a test

Free Anger Management Test - How To Understand And Manage Your Anger

3. Follow the advice

Parenting and Healing Aggressive Adopted Children


New Specialist
in the BGCenter-West

Carol Zelaya
School Psychologist,
M.Ed., Ed.S.

Beginning June 2010,
we accept
Spanish-speaking internationally adopted children
psychological screening, proper school placement determination, and services
in our BGCenter-West office
in Phoenix, Arizona.

For more information
call 845-694-8496

or email

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

From the Editor

  What Should We Do?

Here is a description of an adopted child, gradually regressing into chaos while a lack of school support is speeding it up. "What's new?" one would say. Indeed the point at hand is that internationally adopting parents often try very hard, but still find themselves isolated and without help, as they can't afford delegating control over their child's health and education to others, even to schools. They must be proactive in selecting the right specialists to work with their children.
Dr. Gindis and his staff answer the questions of a parent.

The Parent:
I have read a number of your articles and they ring so familiar to me. I have a 12 year old daughter, adopted from Russia just before her 1st birthday. She had a number of issues, and we went through Early Intervention, Speech Therapy and other programs in our school district, and she seemed to have overcome many of the earlier issues.

In the first grade my daughter was diagnosed with ADHD and began wearing glasses. In the second grade she started having real problems, so we put her on medication and our saga began with the School. For 2 years I fought to get her classified so that she would get the needed accommodations, and finally she was classified as Learning Disabled in the 4th grade. While she did get some accommodations along the way, the school and teachers did not really take her issues seriously. Her grades each year were going down. She became passively defiant and not doing homework or schoolwork, so her grades got worse and worse. I was told by her teachers that she did not complete class work either, and they just let her sit there and do nothing.

In the Middle School all her issues seemed to exacerbate, and she shut down all together. She just couldn't function at that level of responsibility. Trying to find her place socially in Middle School, she took on new friends that were not exactly good role models for her. My daughter is not an aggressive child, yet she had 2 "in-school" suspension days since then. This year they actually let her walk out the front door one morning and no one stopped her.

During this summer I have been determined to find out what is really going on with my daughter as I suspected that ADHD was only one part of the whole picture, and the school did not take that diagnosis seriously. I suspected FAS after reading much information and had her evaluated at a local children's hospital that had a FAS program. They evaluated her and did the facial measurement analyses that are run through a computer program designed at the University of Washington. I read that this was supposed to be an "objective" method of diagnosing FAS. She scored as "Mild FAS." But the director of the program who evaluated her said that "he cannot diagnose my daughter with FAS because I have no record of her mother's drinking while she was pregnant."

I can't imagine yet another year with the school just letting my daughter do nothing and fail. I believe that if she was in the proper environment with the appropriate services and support, she would be able to flourish. But this school is not giving her the chance.

Dr. Gindis:
It's very unfortunate, but your child's situation is just another example of how your daughter was failed first in Russia and now in the US over and over again - all with no fault of her own. We do not know the details of her assessments, but just the very fact that the child was denied a diagnosis (and help) based on the lack of paperwork looks like another failure by your local clinic. The absolute majority of international adoptees with the established FAS diagnosis do not have documents confirming officially that the child was born to an alcoholic mother. Formally, such documentation is one of the 4 necessary elements of a "completely" confirmed FAS diagnosis, but there are 3 other major factors (and many secondary conditions), which you do not talk about; and they are to be considered first and foremost when the diagnosis of FAS is established in international adoptees.

Your main unspoken question is basically as follows: "Is it possible to get help for my child at school if the assessment results were inconclusive and vague?" Very likely, it's not possible, as schools require a written document, not just somebody's opinion about your child's medical issues and educational needs. The way out of this difficult situation is only one - you need to do a complete (developmental, psychological, and educational) assessment of your daughter. You should not go for just FAS determination or ADHD diagnosis, or whatever else may look like a possibility, because only a complete assessment can look at the entire "forest" vs. "one tree," figuratively speaking, and give you and your school a clear direction on how to compensate the delays and accumulated deficiencies in your daughter's development. You need to go to a professional who a) understands specific issues of internationally adopted children; b) who can evaluate your child's developmental status from many perspectives. It may or may not necessarily be FAS in your daughter, there may as well be another half a dozen issues that manifest themselves similarly. And they have to be found out (the child can't just "go down the hill" developmentally and academically without any reason) and they have to be properly presented in a clinical report with the adequate recommendations to your school district. Only then the school may reconsider and act accordingly.

There is one more important aspect which can't be overemphasized: your child's original medical/educational records in the native language. At the BGCenter we have seen so many cases of denied services or special Ed placement for adopted children by their schools, solely based on the lack of developmental history of the child: it was too difficult and too risky for a school psychologist to come up with an unambiguous conclusion of the child's needs without it; it's so much simpler to recommend "wait and see" until the next year. And the tragic part of it is that the records are often available, would just scream for intensive medical and educational intervention without delays, but were never translated, or poorly translated, or nobody ever cared to ask if they are available.


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