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International Adoption Info

Newsletter #144 for Internationally Adopting Parents
March 30, 2011
PAL Center Inc.


Children with FASD in Schools

JCCA 17th Annual

Adoption & the Family

Childhood Attachment
Trauma &
the Stressed Shaped Brain

New Specialist
in the BGCenter
Spanish Bilingual Extension

Initial screening
of your internationally adopted child
in the Spanish Language
is now available both at
the Phoenix &
New York
BGCenter offices!

New Online Class
from B. Gindis Ph.D.

Cumulative Cognitive Deficit
in Internationally Adopted Children
Coming Soon!

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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
Why Doesn't My School Cooperate?
There are many reasons why school professionals may find themselves at odds with the family of the child who is not doing well at school. We have seen this many times: very little progress, poor behavior, lots of issues and diagnoses - it's quite obvious for the parents that the school is not really helping. Where to go from this point on?
Dr. Gindis answers this question for one specific family, but the answers may be applicable to many others.
Case description (from the parent's message):
Our daughter was adopted from Russia 2 years ago and has a host of diagnostic impressions including FASD, Autistic Spectrum Disorder (institutionalized) which might I add the pediatrician and school professionals seem to disagree with. Mixed Receptive-Expressive Language Disorder, Phonological Disorder, PTSD, Multiple Motor and Sensory Dyspraxias, Low-Average-Borderline Intellectual Functioning...the list goes on. We had her evaluated by a neuropsychologist.
After attending school conference to re-evaluate her current school program, it was very clear that the school team was not on the same page as my husband and I. As if the diagnostic impressions that were made along with the many school recommendations that were provided were not valid.

Dr. Gindis answers:
We do not have a team of FASD specialists for international adoptees in your state yet, but it does not mean that you have to wait for anything: the earlier you begin remediation of your daughter - the better are the outcomes. There are several things that you need to do:

Find out why the school is not on the same page with the family:
· Is the school in disagreement with the diagnoses? The majority of medical and mental health professionals would not accept the diagnosis of Institutional Autism (see my article Institutional Autism In Children Adopted Internationally: Myth Or Reality? at http://www.bgcenter.com/BGPublications/InstitutionalAutism.htm.) What sometime is called "institutional autism," in reality is a temporary institutional behavior, or real autism, or a symptom of another recognized mental health issue. If your pediatrician denies autism, it does not pay to insist on it, as "institutional autism" label does not lead you to any school-based services.

· Is the staff overwhelmed by the amount of diagnoses and does not trust them? It’s more productive to separate the leading cause of the overall disability and concentrate on treating it: the idea is, first of all, make the child available for the remedial efforts which may otherwise have no effect. For. ex.: if the child's anxiety is overwhelming, taking steps to reduce it will allow to work on memory, language problems, etc. after that.

· Are the recommended remedial methodologies, placement and services structured and applicable to school environment? If the school is requested to do 2 dozen things at once, they will not be able to provide an appropriate intensity of the remedial efforts and they can't monitor the progress. The remedial goals have to be clear-cut and measurable.

· Are the findings of your neuropsychologist substantiated enough - “beyond a reasonable doubt”, so to say? Sometimes schools do not cooperate because they are looking for the proof that all these conditions are education related and presented to them in a school-palatable language.

· Does the school reject the needs for remediation for your daughter based on the legal loopholes?

The answers to these questions will point out at the right strategy and the right professionals you need to employ for your team. Meanwhile ask the school for the prior written notice – the document where they have to explain their position in writing (see http://www.wrightslaw.com/nltr/11/nl.0315.htm). If you are in doubt about what the problem with the school is and where to go from there, a second opinion on the psychological assessment report and the validity of the school response can be requested from an independent psychologist.

Internet Digest

Susan Milligan
Preschool Lawsuit Shows New Face of Hypercompetitive Parents


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