Newsletter #16 for Internationally Adopting Parents
May 7, 2006
PAL Center Inc.

In this issue

Adoption training courses are convenient and most affordable way
to quickly access a psychological consultation on the issues you
need to address.
Check out the course library,
use the opportunity to speak to the instructors

Q. I have a referral of an 18 month old who was completely silent during our visits. Are there tips for the prospective parent on distinguishing significant language delay as a possible symptom of autism or as simply an effect of being institutionalized?
A. First of all, an adoptive parent needs to understand that any institutionalized child will be behind on pretty much all developmental milestones. Speech and language development are especially vulnerable because of an obvious lack of mediation by adults in the institutions. So, the lack of any vocalizations or speech, taken separately, is not yet a sign of any specific problem at the age of 18 months.

Some other behaviors should be noticeable and accompany a lack of speech--these may indicate autistic features in an infant.
These behaviors include passivity, few gestures, a tendency to fixate on objects, reduced social interaction, and lack of facial expression. These signs may be attributed to many issues and delays, typical for orphanage children (institutional autism among them). The bottom line is, it's very difficult even for a professional to differentiate between some developmental delays, real autism and institutional autism. In such cases parents should collect as much information as possible and ask for a professional opinion.

Boris Gindis, Ph.D.

You receive this newsletter as a former client 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

The Need for Special School Services:
Current Research on Educational Needs of IA Children

...People at your child's school do not
need to be your friends; what is more important is that you are your child's
one and only advocate. I am not anti-schools, but schools definitely have
their own agenda, budget, etc., and this agenda usually doesn't take into
consideration one single child's needs above and beyond the rest of their
student population. It is up to parents and the astute, good teachers to
fight for this.

From a parent's message on a discussion list

Parents often look for research-based articles about the educational needs of their children which they could bring to school: it's still a big issue for many to prove that internationally adopted children, especially older children, differ significantly from immigrant population, for whom most of the school educational and remedial methodology was created and training of the staff provided.

Internationally adopted children are different: they have to start learning a new language on the background of loosing their native language, they are developmentally delayed, and they are all coming with prior traumatic experiences. Even one of these three major differences would be enough to prove the point again and again: a different approach to their remediation is necessary. The remediation must start on day one (no waiting time is justified) and it must be of certain intensity.

The articles offered in this issue give advocating for their children parents a lot of factual material to present at school.

Dr. Ruth Lyn Meese
A Few New Children: Postinstitutionalized children of Intercountry Adoption
Research regarding children of intercountry adoption is limited, and most children of intercountry adoption have complex histories that may place them at risk for difficulty or failure in the classroom. Although the performances of some children from orphanage environments approximate those of chronological-age peers 2 to 4 years postadoption, duration of deprivation is consistently related, both historically and currently, to the cognitive delays and behavioral difficulties displayed by many postinstitutionalized children.

Dr. Boris Gindis
Cognitive, Language, and Educational Issues of Children Adopted from Overseas Orphanages
In this article theoretical conceptualizations of Vygotsky and Feuerstein serve as a major paradigm for the analysis of cultural issues of international adoptees. Native language attrition and dynamics of English language acquisition are considered in the context of transculturality. The specificity of cumulative cognitive deficit (CCD) in international adoptees is linked to prolonged institutionalization, lack of cultural mediation in early childhood, and profound native language loss. The issue of remediation is examined with an emphasis on cognitive education in the context of acculturation.

Harriet White McCarthy
Survey of Children Adopted From Eastern Europe -
The Need for Special School Services

The current research involves collecting data from the parents of post-institutionalized children for the purpose of determining the specific resources these children will need during their years in school. While many Eastern European adoptees may glide smoothly through the educational system without needing any additional help, it's clear from data collected at ongoing support networks that a great many of them will need some kind of assistance over and above ESL services during their school careers.


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